Bespiegelung I - from the portfolio La Lune en Rodage III
21 x 28 cm
Edition Panderma, Basel
1930s, published 1966
Signed in pencil
Edition Panderma, Carl Laszlo, Basel
Galerie von Bartha, Basel
Private Collection, Basel
Condition / Restauration
mint archival condition
Gerd Arntz (1900-1988). Already as a young man, born in a German family of traders and manufacturers, Gerd Arntz was a socially inspired and politically committed artist. In Düsseldorf, where he lived since his nineteenth, he joined a movement which wanted to turn Germany into a ‘soviet-’ or ‘council republic’, a radically socialist state form based on direct popular democracy. As a revolutionary artist, Arntz was connected to the Cologne based ‘progressive artists group’ (Gruppe progressiver Künstler Köln) and depicted the life of workers and the class struggle in abstracted figures on woodcuts. Published in leftist magazines, his work was noticed by Otto Neurath, a social scientist and founder of the Museum of Society and Economy (Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum) in Vienna, Austria. Neurath had developed a method to communicate complex information on society, economy and politics in simple images. For his ‘Vienna method of visual statistics’, he needed a designer who could make elementary signs, pictograms that could summarize a subject at a glance. Arntz’s clear-cut style suited Neurath’s goals perfectly, and so he invited the young artists to come to Vienna in 1928, and work on further developing his method, later known as ISOTYPE, International System Of TYpographic Picture Education. During his career, Arntz designed around 4000 different pictograms and abstracted illustrations for this system. At the same time, he was working with Neurath and his collaborators on designing exhibitions and publications for the Vienna museum. In this time, the 1930s, the city was under socialist government and an internationally acclaimed center of social housing and workers’ emancipation. Neurath’s visual statistics were adamantly meant as being an instrument of this emancipation, and Arntz’ own socialist background fitted this context seamlessly. Produced under Arntz’s creative guidance, a collection of 100 visual statistics, ‘Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft’, was published in 1930. The success of this collection lead among other things to an invitation to come to the young Soviet Union and set up an institute for visual statistics, Isostat, in Moscow. Neurath and Arntz regularly traveled to Moscow in the 1930s, until in 1934 the socialist government of Vienna fell. After the Nazi take over, both emigrated with their families to the Netherlands, where they continued working on Isotype in The Hague. When the second world war broke out, Neurath fled to England. Arntz stayed in The Hague, where he worked for the Dutch Foundation of Statistics. Arntz’ artistic legacy is administered by the Municipal Museum of The Hague, and a generous selection of his work from this collection is now available on-line for the first time.
Gerd Arntz: Bespiegelung II
A rare limited edition of the portable collection of post-war and contemporary art La Lune en Rodage III. This is an unnumbered copy of 230 editions (65 hors commerce were unnumbered) and part of the third serie of the La Lune en Rodage books. La Lune en Rodage was published in three volumes in 1960, 1965 and 1977 containing a total of approximately 180 art pieces which provide an account of the artistic avant-garde scene between the 1950s and 1970s. The art works were gathered by Carl Laslzo and included the greatest artists of the time who contributed with important pieces, often marking a turning point in their production and carriers: Enrico Castellani’s work for example is his first documented graphic work and Piero Manzoni's multiple Achrome is the only one produced by the artist.
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