John Sennhauser, Swiss (1907-1978), Biomorphic Forms, 1942, watercolor and ink on paper, 18 1/4"H x 13 1/4"W (sight), 26"H x 20 3/4"W (frame)

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John Sennhauser, Swiss (1907-1978), Biomorphic Forms, 1942, watercolor and ink on paper, 18 1/4"H x 13 1/4"W (sight), 26"H x 20 3/4"W (frame)

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Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000

December Estate Art & Antiques Auction
December 17, 2022 11:00 AM EST
Live Auction
Indianapolis, IN, US


John Sennhauser
Swiss, (1907-1978)
Biomorphic Forms, 1942
watercolor and ink on paper
signed lower right.

Provenance: From a private collector, Indianapolis.

From the Archives of AskArt: An abstract painter whose early career was realism, especially urban street scenes, John Sennhauser began changing his style to non-objective in the early 1940s. He was born in Switzerland, was raised in Italy where he studied at the Royal Academy in Venice for two years and then in 1928, immigrated to the United States, first earning a living as an architectural draftsman. He studied at Cooper Union from 1930 to 1933, and then taught at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School from 1936 to 1942 followed by teaching at the Contemporary School of Art in New York. He also did some private mural commission work.

In 1943, he took a job at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, working for Hilla Rebay, who became director of the Guggenheim Museum. About that same time, he began expressing his strong leanings towards abstraction and described his inspiration as "the flowing of feeling through my body into my arm . . .to my hand . . . into my brush."

Two years after working with Rebay, he quit as he found her personality too inflexible. For the next two decades he did art restoration work and was increasingly active in art organizations, expecially the American Abstract Artists and the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. In the 1960s, he eased a bit from non-objective and abstract expression to figurative painting, and he worked in watercolor and casein as well as oil.

Virginia M. Mecklenburg. The Patricia and Phillip Frost Collection: American Abstraction, 1930-1945

  • 18 1/4"H x 13 1/4"W (sight), 26"H x 20 3/4"W (frame)
  • Artist Name:
  • John Sennhauser
  • Medium:
  • watercolor and ink on paper

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