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Swiss abstractionist is subject of new Fine Arts Gallery exhibition

Posted on Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 — 10:48 AM

Hans Hinterretier, "Untitled," 1974. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zurich.

Hans Hinterretier, "Untitled," 1974. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zurich.

“Hans Hinterretier: A Theory of Form and Color” will be on view at the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery from July 9 to Sept. 12, 2013.

In 1929, at the age of 27, Hinterreiter gave up his budding architecture career in order 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 then inspired Hinterreiter to develop his own theory of form. The results were complex networks of repeating colors and geometric shapes.

Hans Hinterretier, "Untitled," 1967. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zurich.

Hans Hinterretier, "Untitled," 1967. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zurich.

Hinterreiter preferred to work in seclusion, spending most of his life on the Spanish island of Ibiza. There he made the acquaintance of 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 the current Vanderbilt exhibition. It is through Van der Voort’s generosity that the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery was able to acquire these works, making the gallery’s 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 will be on display in this exhibition.

“Hans Hinterreiter: A Theory of Form and Color” covers almost 50 years of Hinterreiter’s artistic career. The earliest works in the exhibition are tempera gouaches that range in date from 1931, just a year after Hinterreiter began his theoretical approach to art, to 1940, the year after he returned permanently to the island of Ibiza. Many of these paintings also feature hand-written notations by the artist, giving a rare glimpse into his working method.

The later group of works, prints ranging in date from 1967 to 1977, shows 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).

“Hans Hinterreiter: A Theory of Form and Color” is organized by the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph Mella, director. The exhibition is made possible in part by a generous gift from Leslie Cecil and Creighton Michael, MA ’76.

The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Ave. S., on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. All events are free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, noon-4 p.m., and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

Beginning Aug. 21, the gallery will assume new academic year hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Contact: Joseph Mella, (615)343-1704
joseph.mella@vanderbilt.edu