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Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, German, 1899–1962

Composition No. 126


Oil on canvas

60.33 × 60.33 cm (23 3/4 × 23 3/4 in.)
Gift of William S. Huff, B.A. 1949, M.Arch. 1952
Because of the Nazis’ anti-Semitic agenda and their persecution of abstract artists, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart and his Jewish wife left Germany in 1937 and settled in the Netherlands. Composition No. 126 was painted during this period, illustrating a new emphasis on the interplay of lines, surface areas, and color. The interwoven triangles that interrupt the overall mustard yellow field generate new shapes, guiding the eye from one point to the next and creating movement. The top corner of the large triangle on the left appears cropped by the edge of the painting, creating the illusion that the lines continue beyond the canvas. A coarse-textured area in pale pink in the middle disrupts the smooth surface of the yellow paint. With its free-floating forms, this work seems to express the new artistic liberty that the artist found in exile, despite his physical confinement under the German occupation of the Netherlands.
Not on view
20th century

Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Amsterdam, 1941–54; William S. Huff, B.A. 1949, M.Arch. 1952, 1954–2014; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Vordemberge-Gildewart: The Complete Works, ed. Dietrich Helms (Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1990), 294–95, no. K126, ill.

“Acquisitions 2015,” http://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Pub_Bull_acquisitions_2015_updated%2012_16_15.pdf (accessed December 1, 2015).

Frauke V. Josenhans et al., Artists in Exile: Expressions of Loss and Hope (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2017), 159, no. 19, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.