Paintings of the Swiss abstractionist Hans Hinterreiter are on view through Thursday, September 12, in the Fine Arts Gallery located in Cohen Memorial Hall on the Peabody campus. The exhibition, titled Hans Hinterreiter: A Theory of Form and Color, covers almost fifty years of Hinterreiter’s artistic career.
The earliest works in the exhibition are tempera gouaches that range in date from 1931, only a year after Hinterreiter began his theoretical approach to art, until 1940, the year after Hinterreiter returned permanently to the island of Ibiza. Many of these paintings also feature handwritten notations by the artist, giving a rare glimpse into the artist’s working method. The later group of works, prints ranging in date from 1967 to 1977, reflect Hinterreiter’s growth and consistency as an artist as he moved into this more mature phase of his career. Additionally, the exhibition features a collection of the artist’s writings about his theory of forms published in 1978 under the title Die Kunst der reinen Form (The Art of Pure Form).
In 1929, at the age of 27, Hinterreiter gave up his budding career in architecture to pursue painting. In his work he hoped to combine art and science, creating visual art using scientific and mathematic principles. The young artist found his muse in 1930 when he discovered the color theory of Wilhelm Ostwald, which in turn inspired Hinterreiter to develop his own theory of form. The results were complex networks of repeating colors and geometric shapes. The viewer may not grasp Hinterreiter’s logic, even after repeated viewings, but in each work, the artist’s complicated systems provide undeniable order and beauty.
Hinterreiter preferred to work in seclusion, spending most of his life on the Spanish Balearic island of Ibiza, where he met Vanderbilt alumnus Carl van der Voort, BA’53, a gallerist and publisher who took a keen interest in Hinterreiter’s work. Van der Voort hosted multiple exhibitions of Hinterreiter’s work at his gallery and published many of Hinterreiter’s later prints through his graphic workshop, Taller Ibograf, including many in this exhibition. Through the generosity of van der Voort, the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery was able to acquire these works, making our collection one of the largest repositories of Hinterreiter’s work in the United States.
Of the 48 Hinterreiter works held by the Fine Arts Gallery, 39 are on display in this exhibition, which was curated by Joseph Mella, gallery director, and made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Leslie Cecil and Creighton Michael, MA’76.
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 11 am to 4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 pm. Free and open to the public, the Fine Arts Gallery is housed in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Avenue South, on the western edge of the Peabody College campus.
*Hans Hinterreiter, Swiss, 1902–1989
Untitled, from Hans Hinterreiter: Litografias
Volumen I, 1967
11 3/4 x 9 3/8 inches
Gift of Carl van der Voort, BA’53
© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris