© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

After World War II, Götz emerged in Germany as a major proponent of abstract painting, known more broadly as art informel. In 1952 he abandoned oil paint for casein (a milk-based paint), which he applied to canvas primed with glue and then quickly manipulated with a blade or hard-edged squeegee. In June 1954/II, dynamic black forms on the white surface, highlighted with touches of blue, complicate the relationship between figure and ground, creating, as one critic called it at the time, “whipped space.” This work is the product of a few concentrated flicks of the wrist and sweeps of the arm, but by the late 1950s Götz’s canvases had grown in size to rival those of his American contemporaries and demanded the movement of the artist’s entire body. Like Jackson Pollock, Götz placed his canvases flat on the floor, but he used an array of long-handled brushes and tools of his own design to create his signature style.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2012.200
People
K.O. Götz, German (Aachen, Germany 1914 - 2017 Niederbreitbach-Wolfenacker, Germany)
Title
June 1954/II
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Juni 1954/II
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1954
Culture
German
Location
Level 1, Room 1200, Modern and Contemporary Art, Mid–century Abstraction I
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Wallpaper paste and casein paint on canvas
Dimensions
70 x 70 cm (27 9/16 x 27 9/16 in.)
framed: 71.4 × 71.4 × 3.2 cm (28 1/8 × 28 1/8 × 1 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l., in black paint: K.O. Götz
  • inscription: on verso, on canvas in black paint: K.O. Götz//Juni 1954/II//Karin Götz zugeeignet//July 76
  • inscription: on verso, on stretcher in black: Eigentum Karin Götz
  • label: on verso, on stretcher, on label: Sammlung Karin Götz (Rissa)
Provenance
The artist, gift; to a private collection, 1976, gift; to the Busch-Reisinger Museum, 2012
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Standard Reference Number
Ströher 1954-55
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Anonymous gift
Copyright
© K.O. Götz / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
2012
Object Number
2012.200
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Label Text: Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55 , written 2018
After World War II, Götz emerged as a major proponent of abstract painting, known more broadly in the context of post-1945 Europe as art informel. In 1952, he abandoned oil paint for casein, which he applied to canvas primed with glue and then quickly manipulated with a blade or hard-edged squeegee (Rakel). This technique, which the artist discovered at home while working with wallpaper paste, marked the culmination of more than a decade of experimenting with the materiality of paint and dissolving figure-ground relationships. In June 1954/II, dynamic black and white forms highlighted with touches of blue create what art critic Edouard Jaguer dubbed “whipped space” (espace fouetté). What is here the product of a few concentrated flicks of the wrist and sweeps of the arm grew in tandem with the size of the artist’s canvases to demand, by the late 1950s, the movement of Götz’s entire body and an array of selfdesigned, long-armed brushes and tools.

Publication History

K.O. Götz, K. O. Götz. Erinnerungen und Werk, Concept Verlag (Düsseldorf, Germany, 1983), Vol. I, p. 681, cat. no. 765, col. ill.

Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, ed., K.O. Götz. Monotypien, Gemälde, Gouachen 1935-1983, exh. cat. (Düsseldorf, Germany, 1985), p. 129, cat. no. 50, p. 68, col. ill.

Ina Ströher, K. O. Götz. Werkverzeichnis in zwei Bänden, Wienand Verlag (Cologne, Germany, 2014), p. 171, cat. no. 1954-55, col. ill.

Lynette Roth and Ilka Voermann, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2018), pp. 372-374, cat. no. 53.1, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

K. O. Götz. Monotypien, Gemälde, Gouachen 1935-1983, Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 06/16/1984 - 07/22/1984; Galerie des Saarlandmuseums, 09/07/1984 - 10/07/1984; Galerie der Stadt Esslingen, Villa Merkel, 12/14/1984 - 01/27/1985

K. O. Götz, Oberhessisches Landesmuseum im Alten Schloss, 03/13/1985 - 05/12/1985

K. O. Götz, MB Art Galerie Marlies Breitling, 01/01/1987 - 01/01/1987

32Q: 1200 Mid-Century Abstraction I (Painterly Abstraction), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 01/10/2018; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/09/2018 - 01/01/2050

Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/09/2018 - 06/03/2018

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu