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Nicolas Eber: The painting-series of Hans Mattis Teutsch

Hans Mattis Teutsch (1884 – 1960) received at first in his native town Brasow in Transsylvania, belonging until the end of Worldwar I. to Hungary and since then to Romania, an education in woodcarving and thereafter further artistic education in Budapest and Munich. The decisive event in his artistic career was when late 1916 – already 32 years old and since short a widower and father of a son and of a daughter – he was discovered by Lajos Kassák for his newly launched Literature and Art monthly MA (meaning in hungarian TODAY). Between february 1917 and the early 1920 emigration of MA from Budapest to Vienna, he became with 22 of his linocuts and 6 of his paintings reproduced on the pages of MA its most frequently reproduced artist and also the 1st exhibition in the newly opened exhibition locality of MA, in october 1917 was devoted to his works.

This circumstance was lending to his inspiration aswell as to creative power in the literary sence wings. He created symultaneously a large number of paintings, linocuts and wooden sculptures. Besides he had the habit to realise his paintings repeatedly in several different sizes. In the case of his famous «Spiritual Flowers»-paintings there is however no such occurence known.

The topic of his earliest known series from 1916-17 were the s.c. Anthropomised trees, which would already alone by themselves – beyond any doubts – justify his world-wide reputation if in this repect the experts and the broad public wouldn’t have blinded themselves. From that series merely about 10 examples are known, respectively have survived. In the related literature published sofar this hasn’t been even thematised. The following substantially larger series of paintings has become known under the title of Sensations. Those are colourful, multicolour oilpaintings the examples of which are partly known as painted over lettersheet-size sheets and partly in larger sizes of cardboard or canvas. They were created between 1918 and 1920. Some of their examples, which are originating presumably from the end oft the period in question are containing also stilised human figures. Their common characterstics are by the way their multicouredness extending to the rims and their abstract nature.

The next substantial series in chronological order is actually known as Spiritual Flowers, which was created between 1921 and 1923, however carrying this so well fitting title only since 1950. From those actually about 20 doubtless examples are known. Their main common denominators are their structured cardboard sheets – of unknown origin – and moreover their red, yellow, green, blue or exceptionally colourless backgrounds extending all around to the edges of the sheets. Moreover that their central motives are awaking a floral-like impression in their spectators.

Besides these three abovementioned substantial and easily recogniseable series of paintings during the early 1920’s a few more and presumably simultaneously with or shortly after the Spiritual Flowers series also a few unnamed and sofar unrecognised series were created, two of which are going to be presented here below. Their common denominators are partly the structured sheets already known from the Spiritual Flowers and partly sheets with linen-structure. These are very well suited for the demonstration of the painters richness of ideas and creativity and are acting together, as a group, in a clearly intensifying sense, like the movements of a musical composition.

The common denominator of the series of 5 paintings shown here below is their identical, however from the Spiritual Flowers serie different size and structure of board moreover their unicoloured acting and to edges of the sheets reaching backgrounds. For some of them the the kinship to the Spiritual Flowers appears to be obvious.

      44.  45.  46.  47.  48.

Series of 5 oilpaintings, over cardboards with linenstructure, from about 1923, 35 x 25 cm

                     49.               50.                  51.

Dancing couples – Series of 3 oil-paintings over structured cardboards, from about 1924, 35 x 29 cm

The paintings of the series of three, entitled as « Dancing pairs » and shown here above appear merely in technical sense, due to their identical size and structured cardboard quality to have a closer similarity to the series of « Spiritual Flowers » than the series of five shown above, they are however basically differing from them in stilistical respect. From this circumstance one may conclude to the timely proximity of their creation. Hat appears to be remarkable with regard to them is the representation of their human quality e.g by means of their coiffure moreover by the way through which their sexual diversity is expressed trough their differing heights. It is furthermore similarly remarkable – one could even say ingenious – the way how the relation of the pairs with respect to the dance and their bodily intimacy expressed. With regard to that one could even justifiably talk from a novel picturial language or alphabet. How was it possible that all this could remain desregarded and ignored during a century ? What can serve in this respect with an explanation ? Is it a partial blindness or nationalistic prejudice ? Or possibly a mighty amalgam of both ?

With regard to that my wondering isn’t only large in connection with the works in question, but also with respect to the circumstance that apparently despite of a century of time, already 6 monographies published and many exhibitions this was not yet recognized.

Nicolas Eber / ebnic@sunrise.ch

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