"Jean Baier (1932-1999) - Abstract Composition, 1969"Jean Baier (1932-1999)
Abstract composition, 1969
Gouache on paper
Signed and dated lower right
Dimensions of the work: 13 x 13 cm
Dimensions of the frame: 30 x 30 cm
Self-taught visual artist born in Geneva in 1932, Jean Baier begins to paint at the age of fifteen. In 1951, he attended a conference by Fernand Léger on architectural polychromy which decided his vocation and deeply marked his art. The retrospectives Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky will be the starting point for intense plastic research. At the end of the 1950s, Jean Baier won a federal grant of fine arts three times. A first solo exhibition was dedicated to him in 1957 and from the end of the 1950s, he participated in most of the exhibitions devoted to Swiss art, in galleries and museums in Switzerland and abroad.
Jean Baier is close to Zurich concrete art, in the tradition of Max Bill. His work is in line with the aesthetic principles of neoplasticism identified by Piet Mondrian: ignorance of the curved line, pure chromatism and perfect balance of the composition without any symmetry. Jean Baier deepens the research of the Dutch master and works out an original language rejecting the improvisation and whose vocabulary he will not stop enriching. He uses a chromatic range limited to the fundamental colors of red, blue and black in order to best express the expressive and architectural value of each of them. These are treated in solid colors in pure and uneven geometric shapes sliding against each other in subtle games of obliques. This radical simplification conceals a complex search for balance and harmony inspired by the classic structure of the horizontal-vertical composition as he observed it in particular in the frescoes by Piero della Francesca (1420-1492).
Jean Baier quickly abandoned traditional materials to focus on industrial processes (spray painting on aluminum sheets in particular). He also widens his repertoire by leaving the plan to tackle the third dimension via relief and wall ceramics. Jean Baier acquired a solid reputation in the world of Geneva art criticism and was honored with several commissions for monumental works intended for public spaces. The artist thus expresses himself on an urban scale by producing wall works integrating with local architecture of the years 1960-1980.
Genève, Musée d’art et d’histoire
Genève, Fonds d’art contemporain de la ville
Lausanne, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts