Lot 11
  • 11

Almir Mavignier (b. 1925)

150,000 - 200,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Almir Mavignier
  • vorn und hinten 7 (para frente e para atrás 7)
  • signed, titled and dated 68 on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 35 5/8 by 35 5/8 in.
  • 90 by 90 cm


Private Collection, Germany


Hannover, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Mavignier, October 9-November 24, 1968, no. 6, p. 118
São Paulo, X Bienal de São Paulo, German Pavilion, September-December, 1969, no. 79
Zürich, Kunstgewerbemuseum, Almir Mavignier: Serielle Farbprogressionen, December 7, 1974-January 5, 1975, p. 6
Bottrop, Josef Albers Museum, Quadrat Moderne Galerie, Almir Mavignier, October 20-December 1985
Ingolstadt, Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Almir Mavignier hfg ulm 1953-58 , May 1-June 29, 2003
Frankfurt, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Almir Mavignier: Plakate, May 6-August 8, 2004, p. 80, illustrated in color 


This work is in very good condition and is ready to hang. The canvas is well-stretched. The paint/media layer is stable overall. There is a horizontal line of craquelure, measuring approximately 5-inches in length, that runs along the center of the top edge of the canvas. A small quarter-of-an-inch vertical line of craquelure is present in the center quadrant (8-inches above the center of the bottom edge). Otherwise the paint layer is healthy.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

The following is an extract from a conversation between Axel Stein, Head of Latin American Art at Sotheby's and Almir Mavignier, March 2016.

1. Could you describe the spiritual environment in the HfG, the Ulm School of Design by the time you joined in the early 1950's? 

When I came to Ulm, around 1952-53, the city, like the country, was immersed in the process of democratization. I took the fundamental course in 1953. Contact with the professors and discussions with my colleagues were of crucial importance in developing the process of logical thought that became the basis of my work.

2. What was the role of "art" in this experimental institution with an emphasis on the link between creative activity and every day life?

Art was not a part of our program – HFG was a school of “design,” but even so, Max Bill, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart and Tomás Maldonado showed their paintings in the school and some of the students also painted.

3. You consider Max Bill, artist, architect, graphic and industrial designer, former Bauhaus and first Rector of the Ulm Schol a great influence in your life. What do you retain from him in those formative years? What other professors or guest professors had a deep influence in you?

The influence of Max Bill began in São Paulo, where [I saw his] retrospective at the Museum of Art in 1950/51. In Ulm I had personal contact with him. However, three months of study with Josef Albers and five years with Max Bense (in semiotics and information theory) influenced my development as a “designer.”  

4. You were an abstract painter, then a concrete artist by 1952, you went to school at the Ulm School in 1953, you started your dot, grid, optical monochromatic paintings in in the mid 1950's. You joined the Group Zero in 1958 and you were the co-curator of the highly important first exhibition that launched the New Tendencies movement  in 1961, years before MoMA's [now celebrated] Responsive Eye.  

From the mid 1960's until today you have continued your creative work in painting and graphic design and you have been a professor in the prestigious HFBK, the University of Fine Art in Hamburg. The world has changed since you came out of school. What has changed for you in the past 50+ years?

I have continued to paint. I am seeking to liberate the color from form through structure, with the conception that color is light.

Regarding the ground breaking exhibition “New Tendencies,” I had the idea and the list of artists for the show in 1960. I was invited to exhibit it in Zagreb (Yugoslavia), I was therefore “curator” (if this profession existed at that time.) My works in “The Responsive Eye,” 1965 were related to the phenomena of visual perception.

5. The series of paintings that the public recognizes instantly are your dot paintings. Could you briefly explain your wave / dot paintings ?

It is not possible to explain painting. It is possible to see, accept, or refuse. I can explain how and why I began to use “points” in 1954; freely--to concentrate on color. In 1957, [I was working] through grids in order to precisely control the progression of color. I write “points” like this, because a point cannot be painted. It is abstract – it does not have length or width. The points in my painting are particles and quantities of colors used in progressions.

6. You have said that concrete art is the concretization of an idea. What do you mean by that?

To concretize an idea on canvas is a concept of Max Bill; the “15 Variations on a single Theme” (1935- 1938) were created as a demonstration of this concept.  (See https://rulesbased.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/fifteen-variations-on-a-single-theme/ )