Over the course of her almost three-decade-long career, Sophie Taeuber-Arp worked as a designer of textiles, beadwork, costumes, furniture, and interiors, as well as an applied arts professor, dancer, puppet maker, architect, painter, sculptor, illustrator, and magazine editor. Through her exceptionally diverse artistic output and various professional alliances, Taeuber-Arp consistently challenged the historically constructed boundaries separating art, craft, and design.
Published in conjunction with the first retrospective of Taeuber-Arp’s work in the United States in nearly forty years, and the first-ever retrospective in the United Kingdom, Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction is the most comprehensive survey of this multifaceted abstract artist’s innovative and wide-ranging body of work. The catalogue explores the artist’s interdisciplinary and cross-pollinating approach to abstraction through some 400 works, including textiles, beadwork, polychrome marionettes, architectural and interior designs, stained glass windows, works on paper, paintings, and relief sculptures. Essays by curators and scholars examine the full sweep of Taeuber-Arp’s career, outlining the scope of her creative production at different points in time. A comprehensive illustrated chronology, the first essay published on Taeuber-Arp’s materials and techniques, and a scholarly exhibition checklist based on new research and analysis detail the expansive nature of Taeuber-Arp’s production.
About the Author
Sophie Taeuber-Arp was born in 1889 in Davos, Switzerland, and trained at the interdisciplinary Debschitz School in Munich. In 1914, she began a successful applied arts practice in Zurich, where she also taught textile design and participated in the Dada movement. Starting in the late 1920s, Taeuber-Arp completed several architectural and interior design projects, most significantly the Aubette entertainment complex in Strasbourg. When she moved to Paris in 1929, she turned her attention to abstract paintings and painted wood reliefs. During the Nazi occupation, Taeuber-Arp spent her final years in the South of France, and died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in 1943. Anne Umland is The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Walburga Krupp is an art historian and curator based in Remagen, Germany, and Research Assistant for the Sophie Taeuber-Arp publishing project, Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. Charlotte Healy is Research Assistant in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.