Ruth Baumgarte AFRICAN VISION
Ruth Baumgarte AFRICAN VISION 1998
It is with works by the German painter Ruth Baumgarte (1923-2013) that the ALBERTINA Museum sets out to present an outstanding artist of the 20th century. At the center of this presentation in the Columned Hall is Baumgarte’s wide ranging body of works born of her travels to African countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. These altogether ca. 70 oil paintings, watercolors, and graphic works manifest a near magical quality when viewed in person Zimbabwean poet Chirikure Chirikure said of the artist: “She viewed the countries of Afri ca and their peoples not asmodels to be immortalized on canvas but as an integral part of her journey through life.”
Beginning in the 1950s and until well into her old age , the artist made over 40 trips to Africa, whose people she attentively observed and empathetically appreciated. She took an interest in the unfamiliar cultures of a continent that had yet to be discovered by European artists at that time. Central to any understanding of Ruth Baumgarte’s art is the relationship between human beings and nature, the melding of figure and landscape. On the basis of quick sketches made onsite, she would later on upon having returned home to her studio in Germany create vividly colorful paintings, virtuoso watercolors, a nd expressive gouaches and drawings.