In 1927 Baumeister accepted a teaching post at the Städelsche Kunstschule in Frankfurt, where from 1928 he taught a class in commercial art, typography and textile printing. In the spring of 1933, following the National Socialist rise to power, Baumeister was dismissed from his professorship at the school. Further, as he focused increasingly on abstraction, Baumeister was alienated from the artistic program of the Third Reich, which promoted heroic ideals of Germany’s past through representational work influenced by classical art. In 1937, only one year after Figur Malerisch was created, Baumeister’s paintings, along with the work by his long-time friend and collaborator Oskar Schlemmer, were included in the notorious Degenerate Art exhibition. In 1941 an absolute ban on Baumeister’s art was instituted. Faced with the exhibition prohibition, Baumeister continued to exhibit his paintings abroad. Unlike many artists of his generation, he remained in Germany throughout the second world war in the face of political discrimination, relegation and isolation. Baumeister had had the unique opportunity to continue a vigorous development of his artistic practice from the confines of a paint factory owned by the progressive entrepreneur Kurt Herberts in Wuppertal.
When the Second World War ended Baumeister was reinstated as one of the greatest living masters of modern German painting and in 1946 he was appointed a professor of the Kunstakademie in Stuttgart. As Fernand Léger concluded on the artist, “The name Baumeister occupies an extremely important place in modern German art. In fact, if you keenly observe his work, Baumeister represents a German art of international essence. His development remained always in strong contact with the art of all times – from Assyria to Paul Klee, to Kandinsky, to Miró and to the art of all lands…” (Fernand Léger cited in the introduction by Oto Bihalji-Merin in: Willi Baumeister, Das Unbekannte in der Kunst, Cologne 1960, p. 10).
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