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Fritz Winter's paintings juxtaposed with László Moholy-Nagy's photograms in new exhibition
Fritz Winter, Stufungen, 1934, Oil on Paper on Canvas, 100,5 x 75,5 cm. Konrad Knöpfel-Stiftung Fritz Winter im Kunstmuseum Stuttgart © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

MUNICH.- This exhibition of the painted »light pictures« (Licht-Bilder) by Fritz Winter (1905–1976) in the Pinakothek der Moderne is devoted to the artist’s early work which has seldom been shown up until now. For the first time ever, his paintings are being presented in juxtaposition with the pioneering photograms of the Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy and a selection of the earliest abstract photographs from international collections. More than 60 loans turn the dialogue between abstract painting and photography into a tangible experience.

László Moholy-Nagy advocated a »New Vision« at the Bauhaus in the 1920s that was to apply to painting, photography and film to an equal degree. This methodical approach to aesthetics spanning all media was also adopted by the Bauhaus pupil Fritz Winter. His experimental »light painting« straddles urban lighting, late Expressionist light imagery, Constructivist sculpture and scientific research. X-rays, radioactivity and microphotography made it possible to perceive previously unknown sources of energy and natural phenomena.

In his pictures of light and crystals created in 1934–36, Fritz Winter devoted himself with exceptional skill to a variety of aspects such as the reflection, radiation and refraction of light. The »Licht« (Light) series of drafts shown in the exhibition, now in a private collection, is central to this period of work. Created for the Folkwang Competition in 1934, the paintings’ monochrome colouring and the orchestration of contrasting light and dark as well as transparent areas, display the characteristic qualities of abstract photography.

In the 1910s, artists were already experimenting with the most varied of photographic processes and exploring photography’s inherent qualities beyond the merely objective. The vortographs made in 1917 by Alvin Langdon Coburn shown in the exhibition represent the first completely abstract photographs ever taken. In addition, the American Francis Bruguière’s unique cut paper abstractions are also to be seen. László Moholy-Nagy’s famous photograms are exhibited along with Ernst Schwitters’ cameraless photographs. Large-format prints made by the crystal photographer Alfred Ehrhardt himself document the aesthetic peak of »crystal euphoria« in the 1930s. Abstract glass compositions by Willy Zielke complement the selection of works with the further, photohistorically important position of New Objectivity.

The exhibition combines 22 exceptional paintings by Fritz Winter from German museums and private collections as well as 40 photographs from international collections. Lenders include the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, the Fritz-Winter-Haus, Ahlen, the Museum Folkwang, Essen, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, the Kurt und Ernst Schwitters Stiftung, Hanover, the Neue Galerie, Kassel, the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the Ann and Jürgen Wilde Foundation in the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, the Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften München and the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart.

Curator: Dr. Oliver Kase, Curator for Modern Art at the Pinakothek der Moderne Co-curator: Dr. Anna Rühl, Curator of the Fritz Winter Foundation

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