Rotklang, 1962

Nay’s paintings do not address the mind but the visual sensibilities. This is particularly true of the works executed after 1951, which no longer make reference to real objects, but devote themselves to the affinities and proximities within the colour composition. “Rotklang” ed Chord (Red Sound) is one of the last paintings from the work phase of the “disc paintings” (1954–62).

Nay described the emergence of the colour discs as “the natural expansion of colour in the painting process”. The spots of colour become larger in round movements and enter into visual interrelationships – of contrast, harmony or intensification. What appears at first sight as an act of spontaneous expression has actually been carefully composed to achieve a coherent “chord” in which every tone is well placed and well-wrought. Nay was one of the important exponents of Informel painting in post-war Germany and at the same time – with his figurative works – represented a major link to the European pre-war avant-garde.

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Oil on canvas
240 × 190 cm
Inv. No. 2095
Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

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