Cubist composition – Head

Otto Gutfreund

Otto Gutfreund - Cubist composition – Head
In 1912–1914, Otto Gutfreund made a radical shift towards Cubism. Many of his drawings from this period are founded on the construction of hollow forms, but also on the “moving planes” concept. The Cubist Composition – Head is one such set of moving planes. Planes, literally sheets, are placed one before the other in the direction of the viewer, thus producing a spatial effect of a head. Looking at the drawing, one even feels as if the head were composed of some sort of plywood pieces. This allusion makes more sense once we realize that during his internment in France in 1916, Gutfreund created wooden sculptures from flat pieces of wood, a medium in which he achieved “consistent abstract constructivism”. Distinctive of Gutfreund was the use of the verso of the letterhead paper of the Moravian insurance company in this drawing. This creates a tension between the artistic construction of the new figure and the connotations of the world of bureaucracy and finances. In doing so, he expressed a double alienation: both from the traditional ideal of human beauty in favour of artificial and constructive beauty, and from the meaning of money and of Man as commodities.
date:
measurements: height 283 mm
width 226 mm
in collections:
material: reverse of a sheet of paper headed “Zemská životní pojišťovna Markrabství moravského”
technique: pencil
inventory number: K 39192
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings
licence: Creative Commons License public domain