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Untitled

Mixed media on paper
14 x 20 1/2 inches
1939

A former student at Germany’s Bauhaus, Xanti Schawinsky escaped the political unrest in Europe by traveling to the United States, where Josef Albers arranged a teaching appointment at Black Mountain College. The charismatic, avant-garde émigré taught art and stage studies there from 1936 until 1938, when conflict among the college’s faculty prompted him to leave for New York. Schawinsky spent the balance of his career in the city, working as both a fine and graphic artist. In this untitled mixed media drawing, opaque and transparent shapes are suspended in time and space against a gradient background, challenging the viewer’s perspective and defying the two-dimensionality of the paper. Evocative of a stage scrim or backdrop, the surrealistic work recalls Schawinsky’s interdisciplinary theater performances at Black Mountain College.

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