Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Rudolf Bauer
1889 - 1953
signed Rudolf Bauer (lower right); signed Rudolf Bauer on the reverse
oil on board
73 by 102.5cm., 28 3/4 by 40 3/8 in.
Painted in 1918.
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This work is recorded in the archives of Rowland Weinstein.


Das Geistreich (Rudolf Bauer Museum), Berlin 
Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York
Private Collection, New York
Talma Galleries Fine Art Inc., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1991


New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Art of Tomorrow: Fifth Catalogue of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection of Non-Objective Paintings, 1939

Catalogue Note

Rondino is a boldly coloured and vibrant example of Rudolf Bauer's dramatic Expressionist style, which he developed at Der Sturm between 1916 and 1920. It was at this time that Bauer first encountered the art of Kandinsky, and the mutual influence is visible in works by the Russian master of the same period. 1918, the year in which the present work was painted, was a particularly significant one for Bauer:  he wrote his first theoretical essay (entitled The Cosmic Movement) and enjoyed his second solo exhibition at Herwarth Walden’s celebrated Der Sturm gallery, as well as co-founding the Novembergruppe of artists with Max Pechstein, Otto Freundlich and Rudolf Belling.

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.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale