Gotthard Graubner

Ohne Titel

Gotthard Graubner, Ohne Titel

Watercolour on paper

37.5 × 27.9 cm / 14 3/4 × 11 in

Signed and dated "89"

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The artist’s studio; Private Collection Brandenburg (since 1989)

  • Galerie Ludorff, "New Acquisitions Spring 2019", cat. 170, Dusseldorf 2019, p. 37

In his non-representational paintings, Gotthard Graubner has explored the effect of colour on different pictorial media like almost no other German artist. In contrast to many other painters, however, his works are not based on a systematically developed concept. Instead, they are based on a structure of tension that operates with contrasting experiential values such as warm/cold, near/far or open/closed in accordance with the experience of colour through its differentiation 1).

Graubner became known above all for his abstract, monochrome, atmospheric cushion paintings - paintings on canvases lined with synthetic wadding - which the painter himself calls "colour space bodies". Painting on paper is also of great importance in Graubner's work. His "works on paper" are not to be understood as studies, but as self-sufficient, independent works. These works on paper focus on the specific qualities of the colour and the different papers, including their differing painterly effects. In the present watercolour, the basic colour red is released from its fixity through slight modifications in terms of light/dark, warm/cold, making it appear almost animated. Graubner captures the different glaze colours around a centre with rhythmic, sweeping gestures in a more physically traceable manner. Through this technique, the view of the world [...] penetrates to the core of the essence of painting. [...] In the process, colour is unfolded to a new power, it shows what it is capable of as energy and spiritual power - depicted in a richly nuanced and form-moving way - beyond the physicality of its designation. 2) Through the multi-layered application of colour, he lends the central form a light, almost floating appearance.

Graubner devoted himself to the theme of colour as a fundamental problem of painting until his death in 2013. Important milestones in his career include his participation in the documenta in Kassel in 1968 and 1977, the decoration of the German Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia in 1982 and the commissioned works for the official residence of the Federal President at Bellevue Palace in Berlin in 1988.

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

2) Volker Kahmen, On the work of Gotthard Graubner. Works on Paper, in: ibid., p. 185

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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