About us
Artists Sophie Taeuber-Arp
Sophie Taeuber-Arp Photo

Sophie Taeuber-Arp

Swiss Multi-media, applied arts, performance artist, and textile designer

Movements and Styles: Dada, Constructivism, Geometric Abstraction, Performance Art

Born: January 19, 1889 - Davos, Switzerland

Died: January 13, 1943 - Zurich, Switzerland

Sophie Taeuber-Arp Timeline

Quotes

"It is not possible for us to take ourselves back to the exact circumstances of those in a past era, attempting to create art in the style of the past is always inauthentic"
Sophie Taeuber-Arp
"I met Sophie Taeuber in 1915 in Zurich. Like the leaves on a tree in a fairytale, her luminous works descended on my existence. Only a few days after our first meeting, we executed embroideries and collages together. Together we planned large montages. We had met in the beauty of the starry firmament and its mighty architecture had foreordained out work forever."
Hans Arp writing in 1949
"All around her is the radiance of the sun... She is full of invention, caprice, fantasy. . . . It was a dance full of flashes and fishbones, of dazzling lights, a dance of penetrating intensity. The lines of her body break, every gesture decomposes into a hundred precise, angular, incisive movements. The buffoonery of perspective, lighting, and atmosphere is for her hypersensitive nervous system the pretext for drollery full of irony and wit. The figures of her dance are at once mysterious, grotesque, and ecstatic."
Hugo Ball, on Taeuber-Arp dancing to his sound poems in 1917
"...combining the beauty of volumes with the mysterious moving power of color, which sometimes reinforces the voice of the simple forms and sometimes lowers its tone. It stresses the hardness of one form while endowing another with softness."
Wassily Kandinsky on Taeuber-Arp's wooden reliefs created between 1936-8
"Dada will last... The creation of the prophetic spirit found in the works of Arp, in the poetry and art of Klee, in my scrolls, in the abstract films of Eggeling and me, in the attempts in mural paintings, abstract plastics, mosaics, and in the beautiful tapestries of Sophie Taeuber."
Hans Richter

"The intrinsic decorative urge should not be eradicated. It is one of humankind's deep-rooted, primordial urges. Primitive people decorated their implements and cult objects with a desire to beautify and enhance....it is a sense emanating from the urge for perfection and creative accomplishment."

Sophie Taeuber-Arp Signature

Synopsis

Sophie Taeuber-Arp was a key figure in many of the important movements of the pre-World War II art scene in Europe, and was one of the most active figures around the Café Voltaire in Zurich. She dedicated her career to breaking down static, artificial boundaries between genres and forms, and celebrating the creative energy such liberation released. Her creations attempted to destabilize traditional norms in art and society, and question fixed notions of gender, class, and nationality. For Taeuber-Arp, art was both something political and something to be integrated into everyday life. She later embraced the principles of Constructivism, and became one of its most important practitioners outside of Russia. Taeuber-Arp's artworks, whether a marionette, a dancer's movement, or a textile pattern, presented the possibility of crafting a more beautiful world from the elements of the present one.

Key Ideas

Taeuber-Arp was one of the signers of the Dada Manifesto and remained dedicated to the ideas of Dada throughout her career. She applied Dada to a wide range of forms, fully embracing the utopian impulses and promises of the movement to radically transform society by transforming human perception with radicalized aesthetics.
Taeuber-Arp desired to break down the boundaries between applied and fine arts. She translated principles from one genre into another, creating beautiful and groundbreaking hybrids. For example, her work with Theo Van Doesburg in the Café de L'Aubette brought principles of applied textile design into the creation of architectural space and decor.
She also explored the relationship between fine art and performance - working with dance, movement and masks. She sought to bring the ideas of Dada and Abstraction to dance and puppetry, contrasting the restriction and freedom of movement and pose, while the masks and costumes highlighted the split between dancer and the dance.

Biography

Sophie Taeuber-Arp Photo

Childhood

Sophie Henriette Gertrude Taeuber was the fifth child in a middle-class Prussian family. Her father, Emil Taeuber, was a pharmacist who died of tuberculosis when Taeuber-Arp was still a child. Her mother, Sophie Taeuber-Krusi, opened a Bed and Breakfast in Trogen, Switzerland to support the family.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sophie Taeuber-Arp Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Sophie Taeuber-Arp
Interactive chart with Sophie Taeuber-Arp's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Georges BraqueGeorges Braque
Hugo BallHugo Ball
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky

Personal Contacts

Tristan TzaraTristan Tzara
Max ErnstMax Ernst
Joan MiróJoan Miró
Hugo BallHugo Ball
Hans ArpHans Arp

Movements

DadaDada
ConstructivismConstructivism
Geometric AbstractionGeometric Abstraction
CubismCubism
FuturismFuturism

Influences on Artist
Sophie Taeuber-Arp
Sophie Taeuber-Arp
Years Worked: 1915 - 1943
Influenced by Artist

Artists

László Moholy-NagyLászló Moholy-Nagy
Francis PicabiaFrancis Picabia
Marcel JancoMarcel Janco
Richard HuelsenbeckRichard Huelsenbeck
Sonia DelaunaySonia Delaunay

Personal Contacts

Hannah HöchHannah Höch
Marcel JancoMarcel Janco
Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp

Movements

Geometric AbstractionGeometric Abstraction
BauhausBauhaus
ConstructivismConstructivism

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Linnea West

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Linnea West
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
[Accessed ]