Leo Breuer

The Search for the Essence

Leo Breuer (1893-1975), who was born in Bonn and lived in Paris and Bonn, is a candidate par excellence for an exhibition in the Arithmeum on account of his uncompromising geometric con- structivist works of art. Moreover, the last Breuer exhibition in Bonn took place in 1993, so it is also high time that we in Bonn, once again, pay our respects to this great artist.

In his artistic work, Leo Breuer searched for the essence. After a short realistic phase in his early days, he turned to abstract art, which was at first inspired by the language of forms of his friend Auguste Herbin.

Through him, he became a member of the Salon des Realites Nouvelles in Paris, which remained an important forum for his work from 1946 onwards right up to his death. A consistent reductionist attitude, allied with the intention of imparting a sense of dynamic movement to the viewer, led him in his later years to the art form of reliefs which plays a special role in geometric con- structivist art. In his reliefs, Leo Breuer has found his own special, and very impressive, art form. The reduction to uniform cuboids or strips that vary only in arrangement, direction and colour, gives us an impression of his intuitive sense for producing tension in his compositions.

In this exhibition we have chosen to emphasize his later works of art, notably his very original and independent reliefs from this period. 'The Essence', which Leo Breuer tried to illustrate with his art, can be discovered in the structure and color of his pictures. Their composition stands out clearly and pro- minently, and is often a variation on the theme of „duality“ or the „deux êtres„. With his last relief work „l‘infini“ he has found the „unity“ which he had sought throughout his life.

We very cordially thank all those who lent us works of Leo Breuer: Jacques Breuer, the DuMont Schauberg Publishing Group, the Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum in Hagen, the Mittelrhein Museum in Koblenz, the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn, the City of Bonn, the Bonn Museum of Art, the City Museum of Bonn, and the Wilhelm Hauck Museum in Ludwigshafen.