Herbert Bayer - Design New York Tuesday, December 17, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    ARCO, Los Angeles, acquired directly from the artist, circa 1967
    Los Angeles Modern Auctions, "20th Century Design and Fine Art Auction," May 6, 2001, lot 465
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    "Masters of Arts," Interior Design, August 1978, pp. 140, 144 for similar examples

  • Catalogue Essay

    Herbert Bayer Tapestries
    By Lissa Ballinger, Curator at the Aspen Institute

    Herbert Bayer’s tapestries are arguably the least researched body of his work, and much of his exploration of this medium and its production remains unknown. In the 1960s, as Bayer continued his geometric and chromatic studies, he began to design and fabricate tapestries. To assist in realizing his vision, Bayer visited factories in different locations of the world including Puerto Rico, Morocco, and China. Several of his tapestries are large-scale versions of works that he had executed in different media. There is no known accurate record of Bayer-approved fabrication locations, and there is little record of editions. This is particularly curious because of how fastidiously Bayer annotated and recorded his work. It is known that many of the tapestries, including the present lot, were made to fill corporate boardrooms for the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO). The genius of utilizing tapestries in these large spaces is that they had the added benefit of helping to absorb sound.

    The size and the bold, orderly designs of the tapestries dominate every space they inhabit. The subjects for the tapestries are familiar to Bayer; he explores concepts of geometry, symmetry and asymmetry, and also integrates mathematical theories (such as the Fibonnaci sequence) especially into his later work. He uses a simple and recognizable vocabulary of geometric forms—circles, triangles, and rectangles. Also relevant to all of these tapestries is Bayer’s masterful use of color and the interaction and interplay of the color on the wool canvas. The tapestries are yet another example of Bayer’s fearlessness and experimentation in a new medium, enforcing his Bauhaus ethos of equality and lack of hierarchy in the arts. Working with textiles was practical and efficient and allowed him yet another way to advance his understanding of color and form.


"Chromatic Circles" tapestry, commissioned for the ARCO offices, Los Angeles

circa 1967
Wool pile.
107 x 101 3/4 in. (271.8 x 258.4 cm)
Manufactured by V'Soske, New York, New York. Reverse with manufacturer's fabric label.

$7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $8,125

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New York Auction 17 December 2019