Los Angeles

Herbert Bayer

Esther-Robles Gallery

Herbert Bayer’s dedication to an esthetic attitude has persisted through a quarter of a century of close associations with significant movements and the leaders of those movements. A student of Kandinsky and a member of the famed Bauhaus in Germany, Bayer carried the “Art for Use” ideal to America along with Moholy-Nagy, Mies van der Rohe and others fleeing from Hitler’s attack on that institution and its principles.

The transposition from Europe to New York in 1938 and to Aspen, Colorado in 1946 has resulted in the extension and purification of Bayer’s style of abstraction. All of the works in this exhibition are monochromatic—a soft curious brown—but their emotional effervescences are not so restricted, nor are they visually so dull as the characteristic might imply. Orderly reflections of light emanate from suggested forms of polished metal cylinders either at rest or in extreme motion. Optically reversible, the paintings project or withdraw as vision is disposed. These are not sterile exercises in value relationships but dynamic and dramatic experiences explored with precision and purpose. Though Bayer’s field of expression may be restricted, he has brought it to an impressive state of refinement and purity, a condition which has been, for him, the ultimate goal.

––Curt Opeliger