Modernist muse: the art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages

Modernist muse: the art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages
An interior perspective of the Convention Hall, Chicago, Illinois, 1952–54, by Mies van der Rohe.
(Image credit: The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn)

Drawn from MoMA's collections, a host of collages by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are on display together for the first time at the Ludwig Forum in Aachen, Germany. The works provide a glimpse into van der Rohe’s design process, yet are also autonomous pieces of art. Displayed beside other artists of the 20th century, they place van der Rohe at the heart of the modernist movement.

Made between the years 1910 and 1965, van der Rohe used these large-scale collages to visualise space, presenting them for competitions, exhibitions and journals and using them to explore his ideas and theories for Neues Bauern or ‘New Building’.

The art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages

Interior perspective of Project for Concert Hall, 1942, by Mies van der Rohe.

(Image credit: The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence / VG Bild- Kunst, Bonn)

Combining illustration, sketches and photomontage, the collages are architecturally led, setting the principles of modernism with strong dimension-building lines and striking spatial concepts for interiors for built projects such as his Convention Hall in Chicago (1952–54) and also those that were never realised, such as Museum For a Small City (1941–43) and the Georg Schaefer Museum Project, Schweinfurt, Germany (1960–63).

Along with a precise grasp on composition from his architectural training, his artistic aesthetic took influence from the 20th century movements of dada, constructivism, and De Stijl (van der Rohe was both friends with artists and a collector himself).

The exhibition follows a chronological course, yet places his works in historical and artistic contexts, aligning them with contemporaries including Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Höch and László Moholy-Nagy, artists who were lifelong influences to his practice such as Paul Klee and Georges Braque, and practitioners who address his own architectural work, such as Thomas Ruff.

Curated by Andreas Beitin and Holger Otten in collaboration with Museum Georg Schäfer in Schweinfurt, Germany, the exhibition will travel to Schweinfurt next, from 26 February – 28 May 2017.

Modernist muse: the art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages

Interior perspective with view of site of the Georg Schaefer Museum Project, Schweinfurt, 1960–1963, by Mies van der Rohe.

(Image credit: The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence / VG Bild- Kunst, Bonn)

Modernist muse: the art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages

Mies van der Rohe in his apartment, Chicago, 1964.

(Image credit: Werner Blaser )

Interior perspective of Museum for a Small City, 1942–43, by Mies van der Rohe.

Interior perspective of Museum for a Small City, 1942–43, by Mies van der Rohe.

(Image credit: The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence / VG Bild- Kunst, Bonn)

Modernist muse: the art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages

(Image credit: the artist)

Modernist muse: the art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages

Ohne Titel (Cottage), by Kurt Schwitters.

(Image credit: VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn)

The art world significance of Mies van der Rohe’s collages

Perspective of living room through the south glass wall of the unbuilt Resor House project (Jackson Hole, Wyoming), 1937–1941, by Mies van der Rohe.

(Image credit: he Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn)

INFORMATION

’Mies van der Rohe: The MoMA Collages’ is on view until 12 February 2017. For more information, visit the Ludwig Forum website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Ludwig Forum
Jülicher Strasse 97–109
52070 Aachen

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