Becoming a Concrete Artist
curated by Vera Hausdorff, conservator of the Camille Graeser Foundation
Museum Haus Konstruktiv presented a comprehensive exhibition on Swiss artist Camille Graeser (1892–1980) who, along with Max Bill, Richard Paul Lohse and Verena Loewensberg, was part of the innermost circle of Zurich Concretists. This exhibition focused on the period from the 1930s to the 1950s, supplemented by a selection of representative works from his main series. The exhibition made it possible to take a new look at Camille Graeser’s early work and to gain a deeper understanding of his career as an artist.
The presentation, which spanned two floors, looked at the question of how Camille Graeser, a furniture designer who ran his own studio in Stuttgart and took part in major exhibitions by the association Werkbund before having to return to Switzerland in 1933 as a result of the Nazis coming to power, subsequently came to be one of the main representatives of concrete art in Zurich. For this purpose, several of his interior designs and furnishings from the 1920s and 1930s were juxtaposed with his paintings, reliefs and sculptures from the late 1930s, and the manner in which Graeser developed his constructivist-concrete language of forms in the milieu of the Swiss artists’ association Allianz during the 1940s and 1950s was demonstrated.
Not only were the decisive steps in his progress as a painter shown, but also works by artists who influenced his oeuvre. Many of the exhibited pieces by Camille Graeser came from his estate; these were complemented by loaned works from Switzerland and abroad.
Accompanying the exhibition, a publication by the Camille Graeser Foundation, published by Wienenand Verlag, Cologne, is being published at the beginning of 2020.