Flowers of the Soul
Hans Mattis Teutsch
Hans Mattis-Teutsch (1884-1960), a Romanian painter, sculptor and graphic artist, is the first artist in Transylvania to make the transition from the figurative to the abstract, a representative figure of the European avant-garde that has proliferated in the field of Expressionism and later in Constructivism. Resettled in Braşov in 1908, after graduating from Munich in 1905 and a trip to Paris, Mattis-Teustch is claimed by three cultural spaces for his active contribution to the movements of the avant-garde: Romania, Hungary and Germany. A collaborator of the Hungarian avant-garde magazine "MA", of the Munich movement "Der Blaue Reiter" and Berlin's "Der Sturm", and of the Romanian avant-garde magazine "Integral", Teutsch is a descendant of a stylistic group of which Kandinsky, too, was a member. Like the latter, the artist aimed towards a purely spiritual dimension of art, in which shape and colour could be both expression and representation. The process of abstraction takes place by transforming the motif into chromatically enhanced spots and expression lines. With the adhesion to "Der Sturm" in 1918-1919, natural motifs begin to disappear from Mattis-Teutsch's works, and his tendency to render things more abstract is reinforced. At this stage, the shapes of landscape focus from one painting to another, in the rhythm of lines and colours agglutinated in compositions that gather a central core, an incandescent bud, towards an increasingly abstract version of the space from which ever newer shapes are born and struggle. Now he outlines his most comprehensive cycle, that of the Flowers of the Soul, defined as "musical expressionism" by the artist, a new step towards essentialisation. Painted in countless variants, they are true polyphonic compositions, where the trees fulfil the role that horses had in the works of Franz Marc, at least as compositional references, as noticed in 1976 by the Hungarian researcher Krisztina Passuth, and the landforms are treated in curves boldly criss-crossed with pure colours and intense brightness. When examined more closely, many works in this cycle can be subsumed to the theme of the family, suggested by ample curved figures protectively enveloping their cores, or compositional closings that allude to the perfection of the circle.
VIDA, Gheorghe, "Mattis-Teutsch și avangarda românească în Culorile Avangardei. Arta în România 1910 – 1950 – catalog de expoziție", ICR, Muzeul Național Brukenthal