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Mary Bauermeister (b.1934)

1 of 9
Progressions, 1962-2014 stones and sand adhered to...
Progressions, 1962-2014
stones and sand adhered to plywood panel
21 1/4" x 21 1/4" x 6" 
signed and dated
This is a Commentary Work, 1964-2017 ink, watercol...
This is a Commentary Work, 1964-2017
ink, watercolor, lenses, wooden spheres, wooden pencil, metal, stones, offset print, glass
8 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 4 1/4" 
signed and dated
China Tinta-Import Forbidden, 1966-69 ink, offset...

China Tinta-Import Forbidden, 1966-69

ink, offset print, glass, glass lens, wooden sphere and painted canvas and wood construction

78" x 24 3/4" x 9 1/2"


Pencil-Pencelle Theme, 1969-2017 ink, watercolor,...
Pencil-Pencelle Theme, 1969-2017
ink, watercolor, lenses, wooden spheres, wooden pencils, offset print, glass and painted wood construction
7 1/2" x 7 1/2" x 4 1/4" 
signed and dated
Brian O'Doherty Commentary Box, 2017 ink, ston...

Brian O'Doherty Commentary Box, 2017
ink, stone, offset print, glass, glass lens, paint brush, metal and wood tools and painted wood construction
17" x 24 3/4" x 4 1/8"

V.I.P. Family, 2017 ink, acrylic, offset print, gl...

V.I.P. Family, 2017
ink, acrylic, offset print, glass, glass lens and painted wood construction
41 1/8" x 41 1/8" x 8 "

All Revolutions End Up In The Boutique Nr.2, 2019...

All Revolutions End Up In The Boutique Nr.2, 2019
ink, watercolor, mirror, glass, glass lens and painted wood construction
10 " x 9 1/2" x 7 "

Impossibilities-Series Nr.1, 2019 felt-tip pen and...

Impossibilities-Series Nr.1, 2019
felt-tip pen and crayon on digital print with painted wood adhered to artist's frame
20 3/8" x 28 1/4" x 3"

Title Drawing No. 1, 2019 ink and graphite on pape...

Title Drawing No. 1, 2019
ink and graphite on paper
19 3/4" x 25 5/8"


New & Noteworthy

Artist Information

“I’ve always collected things from nature. Then I would contemplate them, and that gave me the idea that somehow people should be given a way of seeing these things as art. Someone should say: just look! I mean, not change, anything. And I didn’t change anything.”

A multidisciplinary artist known for her intricate and enigmatic assemblages, Mary Bauermeister continues to defy categorization with multilayered works in a range of media. A precursory figure of the Fluxus movement—her studio was the meeting point for a number of defining artists of the avant-garde—her work plays an integral role in the discussion of art, both European and American, that emerged from the 1960s. Her reliefs and sculptures, which have incorporated drawing, text, found objects, natural materials and fabric, reference a plethora of concepts: from natural phenomena and astronomy to mathematics and language, as well as her own “spiritual-metaphysical experiences.” Maturing amidst the currents of Minimalism and Pop Art, Bauermeister’s art has resisted labels due to the singular expression of her interests and concerns, among them the simultaneous transience and permanence of the natural world with experimentations in transparency and magnification, multiplication and variation, structure and order, chance and ephemerality, introversion and extroversion. Her three-dimensional receptacles of thoughts, ideas and notes contain visual, conceptual and philosophical paradoxes that challenge perceptions and that offer literal and metaphorical windows into which one can glimpse the inner workings of the artist’s mind.

Born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Bauermeister attended secondary school in Cologne from 1946 to 1954, where she began creating her first works on paper under the supervision of her drawing teacher, Günther Ott, an early admirer of her artistic talent. In 1954, she began her studies at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (Ulm School of Design) in Ulm, where she took courses with Swiss artist, architect and designer Max Bill and Helene Nonné-Schmidt, who had studied with Paul Klee. Unable to align herself with the school’s rigid constructive structure, Bauermeister wrote to Ott: “The only artworks which receive serious attention here are constructed, mathematically provable, rectangular…” She left Ulm after one semester, registering at the Staatliche Schule für Kunst und Handwerk (State School of Arts and Crafts) in Saarbrücken and studying with photographer Otto Steinert. In 1956, Bauermeister returned to Cologne where she supported herself by selling her pastel works on paper. Between 1960 and 1961, she rented a studio on the top floor of Lintgasse 28, a space that fostered a cutting-edge environment, hosting numerous exhibitions, concerts and performances. Most notably, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Nam June Paik, Christo, Karlheinz Stockhausen and other avant-garde artists, musicians and dancers convened at the studio, partaking in many of the earliest Pre-Fluxus happenings and earning Bauermeister the title “grandmother of the Fluxus movement.” She continued to nurture a close friendship with Stockhausen, an influential composer of electronic and serial music, with whom she also collaborated in a creative capacity; the couple would marry in 1967 (they later divorced in 1973).

In 1962, Bauermeister exhibited for the first time in a museum setting, in an interdisciplinary display of her work from 1958 to 1962 alongside recordings and scores by Stockhausen and other composers which was held at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Organized by Jan Willem Sandberg, the museum’s director, the exhibition traveled to two other Dutch venues: the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam and, in early 1963, the Groninger Museum in Groningen. Sandberg had also mounted a concurrent exhibition, Four Americans, featuring Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Alfred Leslie and Richard Stankiewicz. Impressed with and inspired by the work of Rauschenberg and Johns in particular, Bauermeister left Germany for New York in October 1962 at the age of twenty-nine. Specifically, Rauschenberg’s famous combine Monogram (1955-59, Moderne Museet, Stockholm, Sweden), which featured a taxidermied goat adorned with an automobile tire and mounted on a wooden platform, had a profound effect and signaled to Bauermeister the artistic freedom the United States, and New York especially, could offer her that Germany at the time could not.

In New York, Bauermeister entered the art world swiftly, moving into a studio at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park in early 1963 and participating in the International Artists’ Summer Seminar at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ later that year. The program resulted in an exhibition at Riverside Art Museum, where budding gallerist Alfredo Bonino encountered her work for the first time. Bauermeister joined Galeria Bonino that winter and her work was initially presented at the gallery in the group exhibition 2 sculptors, 4 painters and, significantly, in her first solo show in 1964, gaining the attention of institutions and critics alike. Indeed, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, all in New York, as well as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, all purchased examples of her work, prompting The New York Times art critic Brian O’Doherty to write: “It will be interesting to see if she has the intelligence and cunning to cope with the major success she is obviously going to have.” The exhibition included early work, as well as the pieces that would define her time in the United States: her compositions with stones, sewn pictures, and the first lens boxes. Three more solo exhibitions at Galeria Bonino, in 1965, 1967 and 1970, would follow.


Throughout the 1960s, Bauermeister exhibited at numerous group exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including the esteemed Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture and Prints at the Whitney Museum (1966). In related exhibition materials, Bauermeister was frequently referred to as an American artist, and she was included in surveys of young American artists, epitomizing the innovative influence she had on the contemporary American art scene. In 1971, Bauermeister returned to Europe, settling in the house she built for herself in 1968 in the small town of Rösrath, near Cologne – surrounded by a large garden which would inform her later work – though she would continue to visit New York on a regular basis for installations and events. In 1972, Bauermeister saw her first retrospective, held at the Mittelrhein Museum in Koblenz, Germany, which featured paintings, objects and works on paper from 1952-72. That same year, she had her first solo exhibition at Galleria Arturo Schwarz in Milan, Italy and in 1974, she was given a retrospective showcasing two decades of work at the Rathaus Bensberg – the town hall – in Bergisch Gladbach.

In the late 1970s and continuing into the mid-1980s, Bauermeister began working with water and crystals to design commissioned gardens, both interior and exterior, meant for pleasure and meditation. Notable commissions included the gardens she designed for the corporate offices of the Landeszentralbank Wiesbaden in Wiesbaden, Kölnische Rückversicherung in Cologne and the Federal German Foreign Office in Bonn. In 1985, she was included in the International Crystallography Congress held at the Universität Bielefeld, where she presented a solo exhibition of her work and discussed the topic “Symmetries and Serial Processes in Art and Music” with faculty members of the university’s mathematics department. The following year, Bauermeister joined the Postnukleare Aktionstage (Post-Nuclear Action Days), a festival of cultural programming in Wuppertal, where she spoke with political scientists and art historians on the “Socio-Political Relevance of Contemporary Art.” Furthermore, Bauermeister participated in two exhibitions which exemplified her prominent role in shaping art of the 1950s and 1960s: Die sechziger Jahre, Kölns Weg zur Kunst-Metropole – vom Happening zum Kunstmarkt (The Sixties – Cologne’s Road to Becoming an Art Metropolis – from Happening to Art Market) at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne (1986) and Return to the Object: American and European Art from the Fifties and Sixties at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1988). In 2011, she published her first autobiographical book, Ich hänge im Triolengitter – Mein Leben mit Karlheinz Stockhausen (Hanging in a Triplet Grid – My Life with Karlheinz Stockhausen) (Edition Elke Heidenreich bei C. Bertelsmann). In 2019, in recognition of her cultural contributions and achievements, Bauermeister received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit (Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse), the highest honor that the Federal Republic of Germany can bestow on individuals.

Bauermeister continues to explore signature themes that have occupied her practice for the last sixty years, creating works that reveal an insistence on the ideas that fuel her imagination. In the last two decades, Bauermeister has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions, most notably WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2007); Welten in der Schachtel (Worlds in the Box) alongside work by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol, at the Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen (2010); Zero - Die internationale Kunstbewegung der 50er und 60er Jahre (The International Art Movement of the 50s and 60s) at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin (2015); and Point – Line – Plain – TV at the Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, South Korea (2016). In 2017, her work was featured in the exhibitions The Time Is Nw at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery; Zwischen den Zeilen. Kunst in Briefen von Niki de Saint Phalle bis Joseph Beuys (Between the Lines: Art in Letters from Niki de Saint Phalle to Joseph Beuys) at the Sprengel Museum in Hannover; and Sound Goes Image. Partituren zwischen Musik und Bildender Kunst (Scores Between Music and Fine Art) at the Horst Jannssen Museum in Oldenburg. In 2018, she was included in such exhibitions as Fountain of Youth, ESPE (École supérieure du professorat et de l'éducation), Mont-Saint-Aignan, France; Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Light, Line, Color and Space, University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery; Objects Like Us, The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives On Tabletop Art Objects, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; and KÖLN 68! Protest. Pop. Provokation, Kölnisches Stadtmuseum, Cologne. In the past two years she has been included in numerous exhibitions, including the installation “Cry Gold and See Black,” curated by Julie Mehretu for Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2019). She will also be included in the forthcoming exhibition Surrealism in American Art, Centre de la Vielle Charité, Marseille, France to take place in 2021.

Recent solo surveys of her work include Mary Bauermeister. Die 1950er Jahre at the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum & Papiermuseum in Düren (2013); Mary Bauermeister-Da capo-Werke aus 60 Jahren at the Mittelrhein Museum, Koblenz (2015); Mary Bauermeister: The New York Decade at the Smith College Museum of Art, Smith College, Northampton, MA (2015); Pli Score Pli: Mary Bauermeister at the Kunstmuseum Solingen (2017); and Mary Bauermeister – Zeichen, Worte, Universen at the Kunstmuseum Villa Zanders, Bergisch Gladbach (2017). In 2019, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery presented its first solo exhibition for the artist: Mary Bauermeister: Live in Peace or Leave the Galaxy.

Her work is represented in numerous museum collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY); Baltimore Museum of Art (MD); Brooklyn Museum (NY); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); LVR-LandesMuseum (Bonn, Germany); Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); Museum Ludwig (Cologne, Germany); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY); Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY); and Wilhelm Hack Museum (Ludwigshafen, Germany).

Bauermeister continues to live and work in Rösrath, Germany, and under her guidance, the Studio of Mary Bauermeister has begun work on a Catalogue Raisonné. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery looks forward to supporting this important scholarship.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery proudly announced its exclusive representation of Mary Bauermeister in 2018.

Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT
Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France
Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME
Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY
Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat, Bonn, Germany
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Bonn, Germany
Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
City of Herten, Germany
City of Rösrath, Germany
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH
Cooley Gallery, Reed College, Portland, OR
The David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, RI
Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany
Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Gallery of Art, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands
Guild Hall, London, United Kingdom
Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY
Goethe Institut, London, United Kingdom
Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands
Hampshire College Art Gallery, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
Kölnisches Stadtmuseum, Cologne, Germany
Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany
Kunstmuseum Villa Zanders, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
Kunstsammlung Deutsche Bundesbank, Berlin, Germany
Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate, Pocantico Hills, NY
LVR-LandesMuseum, Bonn, Germany
MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL
The Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Mills College Art Museum, Mills College, Oakland, CA
Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN
Mittelrheinmuseum, Koblenz, Germany
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA
Museum FLUXUS+, Potsdam, Germany
Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL
Museumsverein Düren am Leopold-Hoesch-Museum Düren, Düren, Germany
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries, Wright State University, Dayton, OH
Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Berlin, Germany
The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Smith College Museum of Art, Smith College, Northampton, MA
Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Staatliches Museum, Schwerin, Germany
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Stanley Museum of Art, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
UB Anderson Gallery, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
University Art Museum, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
University Art Museum, University at Albany, Albany, NY
Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany
Wheaton College Permanent Collection, Wheaton College, Norton, MA
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS
Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany
Williams College Museum of Art, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Zero Foundation, Düsseldorf, Germany