Gotthard Graubner

Ohne Titel (Gesacktes Kissen)

Gotthard Graubner, Ohne Titel (Gesacktes Kissen)

mixed technique on canvas over synthetic cotton on canvas

59 × 51.5 × 10 cm / 23 1/4 × 20 1/4 × 3 15/16 in

Signed and dated »70« on the verso

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


The artist's studio; Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf; Collection Winfred Gaul (1970-1974); Kunst-Börse, Cologne (1974); Private Collection North Rhine-Westphalia (1974-2022)

  • Galerie Ludorff, "Kunst im Rheinland", Düsseldorf 2023, S. 69
  • Galerie Ludorff, "Neuerwerbungen Herbst 2022", Düsseldorf 2022, S. 52

More than almost any other German artist, Gotthard Graubner has explored the effect of colour on different pictorial media in his works. He does not use colour in the classical sense of pure representation. He models it, condenses it into an organism, allows it to become a medium. His works are not based on a systematically elaborated, colour-theoretical concept. Instead, over the course of his creative career, he developed a tried and tested structure of tension based on colour.

In the course of the 1960s, Graubner developed the works that were to characterise his future oeuvre. Instead of drawing the paint over the surface with a brush, he pressed it down with a paint-soaked sponge - initially on paper, but soon he lined the canvases with a thick layer of synthetic wadding so that the picture surface bulges forward as a bulging, delimited body and becomes a tactile surface. He often covered these cushion bodies not with canvas, but with white Perlon fabric, which gives the works, especially the Bagged Cushions, which were created at the end of the 1960s and include our work, a shimmering and transparent surface.

Our work "Untitled (Bagged Cushion)" shows particularly well how the material itself becomes a body with the application of colour. The action of the colour is the decisive factor. It connects with the body of the picture, spreads over the surface, seeps into it and saturates it completely. The consistency of the colour determines the movement, the path that the colour takes in its unconscious course. This results in congestion; the colour space moves in the wake of the pigment heaps and the surface breathes. Layered several times, colours such as yellow, beige or ochre enter into manifold connections and appear in their potentiality as active energy. When we perceive Graubner's paintings, we experience them as an unmistakable heaviness in which our connection to the earth manifests itself. Through this process of action, we step out of our role as viewers and become part of the action of colour.

Gotthard Graubner is one of the outstanding representatives of non-objective painting. 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 paintings commissioned for the official residence of the Federal President at Bellevue Palace in Berlin.

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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