Inv. No. SG P 245
200 × 104 × 104 cm
For the painter, sculptor and art theorist Otto Freundlich, art was an expression of his socio-critical, socio-utopian ideas, and he developed an aesthetic intended to correspond to a future world worthy of mankind. Initially he took the lively surfaces of the works of Auguste Rodin as his orientation; later his monumental sculptures carried out a singular game of to and fro between the disintegration of form and spatial-organic reorganization. He completedAscension in 1929, the first abstract figure in the history of art. The title points to the idea of climbing – the potential elevation of the socially underprivileged classes as well as that of the mind, i.e. the development of man’s inner life. The principal idea is the free amalgamation of independent, individual forms in a living “community”. In 1937 Freundlich’s works were removed from German museums, in 1938 he was defamed by the inclusion of two sculptures in the “Degenerate Art” exhibition, and his work The New Man of 1912 was chosen to exemplify that “degeneration” by serving as the frontispiece of the propaganda brochure in distorted form. Freundlich was killed at Majdanek Concentration Camp in 1943.