Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart

Composition No. 15

1925

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1499 x 1251 mm
frame: 1541 x 1290 x 48 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1971
Reference
T01474

Display caption

Vordemberge-Gildewart was one of the first painters to work throughout his career in an abstract style. In 1924 he became a member of the De Stijl group and in 1932 he joined the Abstraction-Création group in Paris. Trained in interior design and architecture, Vordemberge initially made reliefs and sculptures. By 1923, he wrote, he 'started making deliberate use of colour' in making paintings. This is one of his earliest paintings and exemplifies what he called 'Absolute art'; namely art without content or object. Colour, form, contrast and space were the only objects.

Gallery label, April 2012

Catalogue entry

Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart 1899-1962

T01474 Composition No.15 1925

Not inscribed
Oil on canvas, 59 x 49 1/4 (150 x 125)
Purchased from La Boetie (Grant-in-Aid) 1971
Prov: Frau Ilse E. Vordemberge-Leda, Rapperswil; with Galerie Klihm, Munich; with La Boetie Inc., New York
Exh: Gruppe K, Der Sturm, Berlin, 1925 (no catalogue); International Exhibition of Modern Art assembled by the Société Anonyme, Brooklyn Museum, New York, November 1926-January 1927 (113); The Société Anonyme presents a section of the International Exhibition, Anderson Galleries, New York, January-February 1927 (67); Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Kunsthalle, Mannheim, October-November 1970 (6); Vordemberge-Gildewart, La Boetie, New York. September-October 1971 (no catalogue)
Lit: Hans L.C. Jaffé, Vordemberge-Gildewart: Mensch und Werk (Cologne 1971), No.18, p.86 and repr.
Repr: Katherine S. Dreier and Constantin Aladjalov, Modern Art (Société Anonyme, New York 1926), p.44

Painted when the artist was working in a studio in the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover previously occupied by Lissitzky.

His widow, Frau Ilse Vordemberge-Leda, writes (letters of 10 and 31 January 1972) that he kept a record book in which he entered every picture that he painted. The entry for this particular work reads as follows:

1925
K. No. 15
large oil painting with large red [opaque square]
150 x 125


His papers show that it was exhibited at Der Sturm in Berlin in 1925, with twelve of his other recent works, presumably in his joint exhibition with Hans Nitzschke as 'Gruppe K'.

Some time later it was rolled, possibly in the course of one of his moves from Hanover to Berlin, from Berlin to Amsterdam or from Amsterdam to Ulm; and it only began to appear in exhibitions again after it had been restored and relined in the conservation studio at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague in 1967.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.755-6, reproduced p.755


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