At this year’s TEFAF Maastricht (March 7-15) a special part of Galerie Gmurzynska’s booth will be dedicated around a work of seminal importance for 20th Century Art and Architecture - the color designs by Dutch artist Theo Van Doesburg for the Café de l’Aubette at the Place Kléber in Strasbourg, which has never before been made available, pictured above.
Van Doesburg, a co-founder of the De Stijl movement with Piet Mondrian, was commissioned to refurbish the interior of the historical Aubette building in 1926 in order to convert it into a complex with restaurant, bars, cabaret and the ciné-dancing hall, together with the artists Jean Arp and Sophie Tauber-Arp. Referred to as “The Sistine Chapel of Abstract Art” by Hans Haug, founder of the Musée de Strasbourg, this ambitious project, conceived as a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, became one of the most iconic works of De Stijl, and allowed van Doesburg to develop and apply his theory of Elementarism, as he explained is “based on the neutralization of positive and negative directions by the diagonal and, as far as color is concerned, by the dissonant.”
Only three major public collections and Galerie Gmurzynska conserve the Color designs in gouache for the Café de l’Aubette: Centre Pompidou in Paris, MoMA in New York, Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (former Dutch Institute for Architecture) and Galerie Gmurzynska conserve the final color studies.
The Color design is documented in depth with historic photographs of the work in the office set up by van Doesburg at Place Kléber while working at the project, and featured in the catalogue raisonné as well as in many publications.