The Otto Freundlich painting Composition has been described as “a major artwork in the cultural heritage”. It was acquired by the Museum thanks to sponsorship and has now taken its place among the masterpieces displayed at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. It is a notable addition to the works by Freundlich, which, in 2012, were also added to with a large sculpture, Composition (1933/2009), from the Michael Werner Donation.

This early abstract painting by Otto Freundlich (1978-1943), painted in Paris in 1911, is an important milestone in art history. It is contemporary with the paintings that established abstraction by Kandinsky, Kupka and Delaunay.

Composition (1911), which is a perfect square, is a pivotal, large-scale work, typical of the passage from expressionism to the early phase of abstraction. In this painting, as in the work of many other abstract artists, observation of nature is the point of departure for new “representations”. Freundlich took the view that “The curve is the basic element of the corporeal and the three-dimensional (…) the arm that indicates a direction, the symbol of our link with the universe.” The painting embodies a new “cosmic ethic” and the fusion of form and content – a democratic conception of people and forms.