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Book release

Rudolf Urech-Seon (1876-1959) «Tritt in die Neuzeit»

The book "Tritt in die Neuzeit" is published almost 60 years after the death of Rudolf Urech-Seon (1876 - 1959). Over the past few years, Christian Herren has edited the estate of the Swiss artist on behalf of the curator of the estate, Daniel Gutscher, and, in collaboration with the graphic artist Anatole Comte, designed the content and graphic concept of the book.

Comte and Herren were born at the beginning of the 1990s, Urech-Seon dated his last work ("Composition", 1959) to 1989 and noted in his notebook: "Man malt doch nicht nur für diese kurze Spanne Zeit, Jahrtausende sind vorübergegangen." The pre-dated "Composition" is reminiscent of a work from 1957 entitled "Tritt in die Neuzeit" ("Step into Modern Times"). Both works feature flat monochrome applied forms in a reduced palette. An essential difference is an opening on a yellow ground, which only appears in the last work. Perhaps it is an invitation to "modern", later generations, who should open themselves to the artist's versatile work and above all its foundations. The genesis of Urech-Seon's work leads from representational depiction to a constructed mode of representation limited to a few forms. This book pays tribute to the artist's versatile oeuvre, both in the selection and placement of his works and through certain design elements. Urech-Seon's further development of "Villard’schen Teilungskanons" is applied in the schematic design of the book. The illustrated works - many of which are being published for the first time - are presented in chronological order on the one hand and in thematic-formalist groups on the other. The framework for this is the epoch in which the artist lived and which is also reflected in Anatole Comte's typographical concept: Initiallettern and Alinea in the style of "neue Schwabacher" (1876) and "Neuzeit" (1959) for the continuous text. This epoch, however, is in no way intended to tempt us to see the artist's work in an isolated period of time. Urech-Seon, opponent of episodic attributions, did not by chance replace his futuristic ligature for signing the pictures from the 1930s with a signature in the "outdated" Sütterlin script.

About artist
Rudolf Urech-Seon
Seon, 1876 — 1959

After completing an apprenticeship as a house painter and decorator, Rudolf Urech-Seon (1876, Seon – 1959, Seon) founded a painting business in his home village of Seon in the canton of Aargau in 1905 and married Marie Baumann in the same year. Despite having a stable family and professional business at the time, Urech decided to attend the Munich Art Academy from 1913 to 1916 to pursue an artistic career. In 1918, he returned to Seon rarely leaving the village from then on.
Rudolf Urech-Seon began his artistic career as a naturalistic landscape painter, which helped him to become a member of the GSMBA (Gesellschaft Schweizerischer Maler, Bildhauer und Architekten) and to participate in cantonal exhibitions in 1920. Rather quickly, he progressed to compositions in which he concentrated on constructive elements such as the lines, surfaces, and brushstroke rhythms which led an abstract art style with geometric, round, swinging forms with intense colours. Urech-Seon, accordingly, became and remained the first and sole abstract painter in the canton of Aargau. However, he was strongly criticized for taking the path towards abstraction within his community’s artists’ circle. Lacking the presence of like-minded people in the local artist community, Urech-Seon re-oriented himself, turning to exhibitions of the avant-garde in Zurich and Basel (1932 Picasso, 1933 Braque, 1938 Le Corbusier) having found confirmation for his chosen artistic path. It was only when the artist joined the Allianz (Association of Modern Artists in Switzerland) in 1947, that his work received broader recognition. Thereupon, he was given opportunity to display his works in three Allianz exhibitions: at the Kunstverein St. Gallen (1947), at the Kunsthaus Zürich (1947), and the Helmhaus Zürich (1954), as well as at the Salon des Realités Nouvelles in Paris in 1948 and 1950.