Composition of Circles and Semicircles 1935

© 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VISCOPY, Australia

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Composition of Circles and Semicircles, 1935; Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VISCOPY, Australia

In the 1910s, Sophie Taeuber-Arp was deeply involved with the Dada art movement in Zurich, which expressed shock and anger over the atrocities surrounding World War I. While many artists of the time created politically-charged or surrealistic imagery, Taeuber-Arp expressed her radical vision through geometric-based paintings, sculptures, textile designs, and stage sets. Her spare aesthetic extended from her belief in the innate expressive power of color, line, and form.

In this painting, the mix of half and whole circles and varying levels of intensity among the colors give the painting a strong sense of movement. This quality of mostion may reflect Taeuber-Arp's experience as a dancer and choreographer of avant-garde “performances” related to the Dada group’s activities. At the time she created this painting, Taeuber-Arp and her husband, French artist Jean Arp, lived in Paris. Both were members of the city’s influential Abstraction–Création group, which championed geometric abstract art in particular and whose membership included artists from across Europe.