Sophie Taeuber-Arp—Equilibre

Landmarks of Swiss Art

Equilibre: Sophie Taeuber-Arp's defining work as a painter


Title Information

Walburga Krupp. Edited by Angelika Affentranger-Kirchrath

1st edition

, 2020

Text English and German


96 pages, 39 color and 4 b/w illustrations

21.5 x 25 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-662-7


Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889–1943) was a pioneer of 20th-century avant-garde. Remarkably versatile and immensely gifted, she produced an oeuvre that encompasses the entire range of the modernist movement from applied and fine art and dance to architecture, interior design, and teaching.
Equlibre, created in 1931, marks the beginning of Taeuber-Arp’s career as an accomplished painter. She moves away from figuration to focus on shape and color. Circle, square, and rectangle define her future vocabulary. While in her earlier textiles she used multiple shades and hues, she now reduces her palette to primary colors alongside black and white, signaling a markedly changed sense of color.

The painting’s posthumous title emphasizes Taeuber-Arp’s constant striving for an ideal balance of color, shape, and indeed all the elements in her paintings. From here, she sets out to explore movement, circles, and spaces, and later gradations and lines. Equilibre, a landmark of Taeuber-Arp’s oeuvre, looks ahead to her future subject matter, while at the same time referencing her earlier work.


Walburga Krupp is a freelance scholar, writer, and curator, and a leading expert on Sophie Taeuber-Arp. She is co-editor of the collected letters of Sophie Taeuber-Arp (scheduled for publication in 2020) and co-curator of MoMA's Sophie Taeuber-Arp retrospective in 2020 with further stations at London's Tate Modern, and Kunstmuseum Basel.

Authors & Editors
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Pillowcase, 1916, wool on canvas, cross-stitch embroidery, 53 × 52 cm, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) / Museum of Design, Zurich / Applied Arts Collection, Zurich

Teppich, c. 1925, weaving in colored wool, 80 x 70 cm Fondazione Marguerite Arp, Locarno

Untitled (Composition abstraite désaxée), 1927/28, stained glass window for André Horn’s apartment, 46 x 44 cm, Museum for Contemporary and Modern Art, Strasbourg, donated by Paul Horn, 1957

Composition à cercles-à-bras angulaires superposés, 1930, oil on canvas, 49.5 x 64.1 cm, The Riklis Collection of the McCrory Corporation

Équilibre [Composition (deux disques coupés par une ligne) / Kreise und Linie], 1931, oil on canvas, 32 x 25.5 cm, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, donation from the Müller-Widmann Collection, Basel

Cercles mouvementés, 1934, oil on canvas, 72.5 x 100 cm, Kunstmuseum Basel, donation by Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach, 1968

Pointe sur pointe, 1931, oil on canvas, 64.8 x 54 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art: A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1952

Cercles et barres, 1934, oil on canvas, 64 x 74 cm, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, anonymous donation

Relief rectangulaire, cercles découpés, rondelles sur tiges, 1936, oil on wood, 60.5 x 80 x 8 cm, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, on permanent loan from a private collection, 2001


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