Gotthard Graubner

Ohne Titel

Gotthard Graubner, Ohne Titel

Watercolour on paper

31 × 22 cm / 12 3/16 × 8 11/16 in

Signed and dated »70«

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We thank Ms Kitty Kemr for the kind confirmation of the work’s authenticity


Private Collection Gerd Käfer, Munich (until 2016); Private Collection North Rhine-Westphalia

  • Galerie Ludorff, Neuerwerbungen Frühjahr 2022, Düsseldorf 2022
  • Galerie Ludorff, "Neuerwerbungen Frühjahr 2022", Düsseldorf 2022, S. 47

It is easy to get lost in Gotthard Graubner's paintings. One instinctively tries to read them, to sense them, to discover them and, in doing so, dives layer by layer deeper into the almost delicate expanses of his worlds of colour. These seem to have neither a beginning nor an end and are in a constant process of change, of becoming and growing .1) The luminosity inherent in the works is perceived down to the smallest detail and permeates not only the space around us, but also ourselves.

In this context, light has a special and, as it were, changeable meaning for the artist. His paintings build themselves up as the light grows and fade with it; beginning and end are interchangeable. They do not denote a state, they are a transition.2) Graubner has explored the effect of colour on different pictorial media in his non-representational paintings like almost no other German artist. However, his works are not based on a systematically elaborated, colour-theoretical concept, but instead build on a tension structure that has been practically rehearsed in painting over the course of his creative career. In accordance with the experience of colour through its differentiation 3), the works operate with contrasting experiential values such as warm/cold, near/far or open/closed. These experiential values and his handling of light and colour are particularly evident in this watercolour. The compact, rust-red structure appears almost organic, its translucent edges suggesting a nebulous, billowing movement. The ever-so-slight modifications from intense colour intensity and depth to moving proximity and lighter colourfulness release the structure from its fixity and allow it to be experienced. Until his death in 2013, the artist worked on colour and form as a fundamental problem of painting. His intimate and particularly expressive works on paper characterised his artistic work until the 1970s and often anticipated his later colour space bodies in their appearance and formal structure.

Gotthard Graubner is now one of the most outstanding representatives of non-objective painting of the 20th century. Important milestones in his career include numerous participations in the documenta in Kassel, the decoration of the German Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia (1982) and commissioned paintings for the official residence of the Federal President in Bellevue Palace in Berlin.

1) Quoted from "Gotthard Graubner. Breathing with the pictures", exhib. cat. Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Cologne 2019, p.19.

2) Quoted from "Gotthard Graubner", Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg 1975, p. 74.

3) Quoted from Gotthard Graubner, in: "Gotthard Graubner. Farbräume - Farbraumkörper - Arbeiten auf Papier", exhib. cat. Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf 1977, p. 34.

About Gotthard Graubner

Gotthard Graubner is among the outstanding representatives of non-objective painting. His so-called “cushion paintings”— sculptural-looking pictorial bodies— gained the painter international recognition.

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