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Baumeister Archive

The Baumeister Archive manages the entire written estate of the Stuttgart artist Willi Baumeister (1889–1955). The archive has been a permanent component of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart since its opening in 2015 and contributes significantly to making the oeuvre of this major exponent of abstract painting in postwar Germany accessible.

Hadwig Goez

Baumeister Archive at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
+49 (0)711 / 216 196 26
archiv-baumeister [at] kunstmuseum-stuttgart [dot] de (archiv-baumeister[at]kunstmuseum-stuttgart[dot]de)

Preserved in the archive are the artist’s written correspondence with friends and gallerists, his diaries, autographs, and manuscripts, as well as photographs, newspaper articles from 1910 to the present, and an extensive collection of publications on and by Baumeister. The holdings also include sketches, drawings, commercial art, graphics, typographical works, stage designs, and paintings.

The research facility is open to scholars, curators, and students. The archive supports numerous exhibitions in Germany and abroad with loans. Since 2005 it has made significant curatorial contributions to several exhibitions on Baumeister's work at the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart: "Im Rampenlicht: Baumeister als Bühnenbildner" (2007), "Willi Baumeister International" (2013), "on paper... works of willi baumeister" (2016), "Comb, Pastel and Buttermilk. Willi Baumeister, Adolf Hölzel and Fritz Seitz" (2020).

Willi Baumeister Chronology

Born in 1889 in Stuttgart, Baumeister began studying with Robert Poetzelberger, Gustav Igler, and Adolf Hölzel at the Royal Württemberg Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart while also training as a decorative painter. In 1919 he created his first stage design, for the Deutsche Theater in Stuttgart—and realized his last in 1953. From 1928 to 1933 he taught commercial art, typography, and textile printing at the municipal school of arts and crafts (today the Städelschule) in Frankfurt am Main but was removed from his position by the National Socialists and denounced as a "degenerate artist." From 1943 to 1945 Baumeister wrote his art-theoretical text "Das Unbekannte in der Kunst" (The Unknown in Art), which he was first able to publish in 1947. In 1946 he was appointed professor of painting at the Stuttgart Academy of the Fine Arts. He was a co-founder of the artist association Üecht and the group Zen 49 as well as a member of various associations such as Cercle et Carré and the Ring neue werbegestalter (circle of modern advertising designers). Baumeister died on August 31, 1955, while working at his easel.