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Bernhard HeiligerUntitled Abstract Expressionist Composition
Medium: Lithograph Year: 1966 Signed, dated, numbered or inscribed Edition: 65 + h.c. Size: 26.9 × 20.3 on 33.9 × 23.8 inches Bernhard Heiliger (11 November 1915, Stettin - 25 October 1995, Berlin) was a German artist. He was considered "West Germany's foremost sculptor", and his large public artworks are a prominent presence in many German cities, especially Berlin. Heiliger's diverse output stretches from his early, organically abstracted figures to his late nonobjective, geometric abstractions. His early work (1945–1962), focuses on the human figure, which is treated in an organic style influenced by Aristide Maillol and Henry Moore. Also from this period is a series of portrait busts of prominent contemporary Germans. The artist departed from the human figure in his second period (1962–1970), instead developing imagery of the "flight of birds and vegetable forms" influenced by the nonrepresentational Informel style. The seven-meter-high The Flame (Flamme, 1962–63), commissioned by the city of Berlin for Ernst-Reuter-Platz, is considered the key work in the transition between the early and middle periods. The Five Continents (Die fünf Erdteile, 1961), by contrast, still alludes to the human figure in the torso-like shapes that make up the composition. Kosmos 70, commissioned in 1970 by the city of Berlin for the restored Reichstag building, marks the transition into Heiliger's final period, where spheres and angular forms linked by lines of wire allude to planets and solar systems. The different stylistic phases in Heiliger's career are connected to changes in material: whereas his works from the 50's and 60's are cast materials, such as cast stone or bronze, the works from the 70's onward are most often made of stainless steel or corten steel.
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