German-born Bauer was a principal innovator and exponent of Non-Objective painting, the term favoured by Solomon R. Guggenheim himself to describe autonomous abstractions, from lyrical Expressionism to geometric Constructivism. Bauer began his career in Berlin at the onset of World War I, becoming a prominent figure in the avant-garde circle at Walden's Der Sturm alongside fellow luminaries such as Paul Klee, Franz Marc, and Wassily Kandinsky. It was the latter artist who influenced Bauer most, and their shared passion for spiritualism and musically derived improvisation in art led them to collaboratively refine their styles and theories and exhibit together often throughout the late teens and early 1920s.
Bauer's daring new brand of abstraction was first exposed to the American public in 1920, when the renowned collector and Société Anonyme co-founder Katherine Dreier purchased a major oil at Der Sturm and exhibited it in New York to rave reviews. Despite these early accolades, Bauer's true success came seven years later when copper magnate, and then fledgling art collector, Solomon R. Guggenheim was shown works by Bauer and Kandinsky by German art advisor and future Guggenheim Foundation director, Hilla Rebay. Guggenheim was immediately smitten by the vanguard genius of the Non-Objective art and devoted himself to building what is now one of the greatest modern art collections in the world around the primacy of Bauer and Kandinsky. Guggenheim acquired hundreds of works by Bauer over the years and in 1939 went so far as to pre-emptively purchase the artist's entire estate. He filled his massive suite at the Plaza Hotel exclusively with Bauer's work, gave Bauer funds to create a museum devoted to Non-Objective art in Germany, and even entrusted Bauer to purchase works from other emerging European artists on his behalf. As a result Bauer was responsible for selecting many of the greatest Kandinsky's in the Guggenheim collection, though a letter from Hilla Rebay to Bauer reveals that in one case, ‘Mr. Guggenheim likes the Kandinsky very much but (he likes) yours better. He would like all your most recent works…’ (quoted in Joan M. Lukach, Hilla Rebay: In Search of the Spirit in Art, New York, 1983, p. 58).
Rondino boasts an especially distinguished provenance, having originally been in the collection of Das Geistreich (Realm of the Spirit), the first museum to be entirely dedicated to non-objective art, which was founded by Bauer in Berlin in 1930.
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