Landmarks of Swiss Art
Equilibre: Sophie Taeuber-Arp's defining work as a painter
1st edition, 2020
Text English and German
96 pages, 39 color and 4 b/w illustrations
21.5 x 25 cm
Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889–1943) was a pioneer of 20th-century avant-garde. Remarkably versatile and immensely gifted, she produced an oeuvre that encompasses the entire range of the modernist movement from applied and fine art and dance to architecture, interior design, and teaching.
Equlibre, created in 1931, marks the beginning of Taeuber-Arp’s career as an accomplished painter. She moves away from figuration to focus on shape and color. Circle, square, and rectangle define her future vocabulary. While in her earlier textiles she used multiple shades and hues, she now reduces her palette to primary colors alongside black and white, signaling a markedly changed sense of color.
The painting’s posthumous title emphasizes Taeuber-Arp’s constant striving for an ideal balance of color, shape, and indeed all the elements in her paintings. From here, she sets out to explore movement, circles, and spaces, and later gradations and lines. Equilibre, a landmark of Taeuber-Arp’s oeuvre, looks ahead to her future subject matter, while at the same time referencing her earlier work.
Walburga Krupp is a freelance scholar, writer, and curator, and a leading expert on Sophie Taeuber-Arp. She is co-editor of the collected letters of Sophie Taeuber-Arp (scheduled for publication in 2020) and co-curator of MoMA's Sophie Taeuber-Arp retrospective in 2020 with further stations at London's Tate Modern, and Kunstmuseum Basel.