Artwork of the month February

Verena Loewensberg, Untitled, 1984/85, Hilti Art Foundation

Verena Loewensberg

* 1912 in Zurich, † 1986 in Zurich

Untitled, 1984/85

Oil on canvas

Hilti Art Foundation

The Zweifarbigen Bilder (Paintings in Two Colours), a series of twenty-six paintings created between 1983 and 1986, in other words at the end of her life, may well be considered her artistic legacy. The series not only links two distinct visual ideas, defined at an early stage – the staggered rectangle and the dialogue between two colours – but also shows a clarity, an almost floating serenity of form and an exceptional subtlety in the choice of colour, testifying to years of artistic endeavour and experience.

The twenty-six works, all measuring 100 by 100 centimetres, consist of a monochrome shape set off against a monochrome ground in a different colour. Their almost square shape has multiple right-angled edges. The artist always made a small-format study on graph paper, which she then transferred to scale on a primed canvas. Without the help of tape, she then painted the shape and ground with great precision, colour by colour, layer by layer, until she had achieved a homogeneous picture plane, whose quality and texture are indebted as much to the painting technique as they are to the oil binder. None of the shapes in the twenty-six pictures is identical; they are marked by subtle variations in outline through the number, position, and depth of the angles, while the dialogue between the colours is based on combinations that range from clearly contrasting to subtly differentiated. Their selection is not a product of theory but inspired exclusively by sensual perception, a factor that enhances the great appeal and value of the series even more.

Whether studied singly or as a whole, appreciation of the works is a matter of great concentration, ultimately becoming a question of meditation. Crossing boundaries is conceivable – from the immanent world of concrete shape and colour to a transcendental place of sublime weightlessness.

Uwe Wieczorek

<b>Verena Loewensberg, Untitled, 1984/85, Hilti Art Foundation</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.