Today is the 127th birthday of Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889–1943). In celebration of this beloved artist, whose face graces Switzerland’s 50 franc bill, Google invited MoMA to create a digital exhibition. We’ve included some beautifully crisp high-resolution images of her art—from one of her Dada Heads to paintings from the 1930s—alongside archival photos and views from recent exhibitions. Another link to visit is Google Doodle’s page for Taeuber-Arp, which features doodles inspired by her art—including the official doodle that decorates today’s Google homepage across parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Active from World War I until her death in 1943, she was a central figure in some of the 20th century’s most revolutionary avant-garde movements. Her output was astonishingly interdisciplinary. In a steadfast challenge to the traditional divisions between the fine and applied arts—and ultimately between life and art—she moved fluidly between painting and theater, architecture and sculpture. She designed desks, kitchens, and tea rooms; and crafted scarves, tapestries, and even a candelabrum. She was a dancer too, regularly performing at the Zurich Dada hub Cabaret Voltaire in costumes designed by her husband, Jean (Hans) Arp. Her ecstatic motions were once described by her fellow Dada artist, Hugo Ball, as “a dance full of flashes and fishbones, of dazzling lights, a dance of penetrating intensity.” Uniting all of this activity was a strong visual language of abstraction, guided largely by the grid. Some of the ways in which she explored the grid’s potential, and geometric abstraction more broadly, will be visible in the online exhibition’s sampling of her work.
Cheers to Sophie Taeuber-Arp! We hope you enjoy this digital exhibition that pays homage to one of the 20th century’s most remarkable artists.