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Richard Paul Lohse
Three Complementary Diagonal Arrangements
with Yellow Corners / Variation C, 1978

Acrylic on canvas

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Photo: Gerhard Sauer

Brilliant complementary colour contrasts are central to this painting from 1978 by the Swiss painter, graphic artist, author and editor Richard Paul Lohse, whose work took up the legacy of de Stijl artist Piet Mondrian and his systematic, analytic approach. Nine coloured squares, distributed evenly over a likewise square surface, prompt the viewer to find a sense of order that ultimately reveals itself in the diagonal rising up from the lower left-hand margin and consisting of the complementary colour pairs red/green, blue/yellowish orange, violet/yellowish green. Three Complementary Diagonal Arrangements with Yellow Corners / Variation C is one of the Serielle Ordnungen [Serial Orders] that Lohse first embarked on in 1943. This series of works takes the square as its basic element and creates, through the horizontal-vertical alignment of the individual form, a parallel to the similarly square boundary of the picture.  
The square as a simultaneously constant and flexible building block presents the possibility of constructing moveable, serial arrangements that can be varied as easily as they can be extended, and with that make the work a part of a larger system. In order to ensure the individuality and integrity of every single coloured square, Lohse always separated fields of the same colour and ensured each square was bordered by differing colours, so that the same colours never come in contact with one another on the corners of the individual building blocks. With that the colour effect created by each individual shape is brought out to the full, and this is further enhanced by the immaculate surface created with the paint: all irregularities and visible paint strokes have been eliminated because they would introduce a subjective element that mars the piece’s effect.


Richard Paul Lohse
1902 born in Zurich  
1988 died in Zurich