This event is supported by the European cultural Season, organized during the French Presidency of the European Union (July 1st – Dec. 31st, 2008)
© 2008 - Les Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg
On the occasion of the Art is Arp exhibition, visitors are invited to rediscover the Aubette décors, an avant-garde work created between 1925 and 1928 by Theo van Doesburg (Utrecht 1883-Davos 1931), Sophie Taeuber Arp (Davos 1889-Zurich 1943) and Hans Jean Arp (Strasbourg 1886--Basel 1966).
The original Aubette, a neo-classical construction situated at Place Kléber and designed by the architect Jean François Blondel between 1764 and 1767, became, at the instigation of Paul and André Horn, architect and pharmacist from Mulhouse, a vast leisure complex of around 200m2 in 1928.
The décors of diverse spaces – a café, restaurant, brasserie, tea room, cinema/ballroom, cellar-dancehall, Salle des Fêtes (festivity hall) and others – are spread across four levels (cellar, ground floor, entresol and floor level). Their creation was entrusted to Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp who joined forces with their friend, the painter and architect, Theo van Doesburg. Most of the drawings were completed in early 1927. It then took one year to build and officially inaugurate the building on February 17, 1928.
The Aubette was conceived to be a work of total art applying the esthetic theories of «De Stijl», the movement founded by Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian in 1917.
Too avant-garde for the public’s taste, most of the Aubette decors were modified, and later destroyed in the latter part of the 30’s.
After a first phase of partial restoration allowing for the restitution of the Cinema/ballroom in 1994, the city of Strasbourg decided to take on a second series of restoration work on three supplementary areas (the Festivity hall, the Foyer bar, and the Staircase).
Thus the entire first floor, inaugurated in 2006, was restored.
Designed by Theo van Doesburg, the authorship of the colored decorative stripes is difficult to attribute. It has been credited to Arp and/or Sophie Taeuber-Arp.
-The large Salle de Fêtes by Theo van Doesburg
Van Doesburg adopts an exclusively orthogonal composition animated by vertical and horizontal lines creating squares and rectangles. The chromatic range is done in elementary colors (yellow, blue, red, black and white), dear to the neo-plastic esthetic. Two nuances of identical color are juxtaposed side by side with the goal of allowing the tones to shine through. Certain modules contain enamel panels each holding sixteen light bulbs creating artificial lighting. The original project included a colored linoleum floor. This was later transformed into a wooden parquet.
The Foyer-bar by Sophie Taeuber-Arp
This space was conceived as a link between the Salle de Fêtes and the Cinema/ballroom while maintaining freedom of movement.
Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s décor is composed of simple, geometrical forms in grey and red tones. The floor, following the same composition and for which no drawing exists, was probably elaborated in situ.
The cinema/ballroom by Theo van Doesburg
Here van Doesburg creates a counter-composition. Encouraged by the orthogonal layout of architectonic elements, he decides to introduce the oblique into the painted composition. The color scheme (red, yellow, blue, green, white, grey and black) is carried out inside a diagonal grid. Van Doesburg executes esthetic theories of elementarism, a movement he founded in 1924, confirming the use of the oblique and establishing a radical change.
Opening the Aubette to the public for the «Art is Arp» exhibition
The venue is open to the public during the exhibition three hours per day from Wednesday-Saturday 2pm to 5pm.
Access to the Aubette is free of charge during the entire length of the exhibition held at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg in honor of Hans Jean Arp.
On this occasion, the work «L’Aubette ou la couleur dans l’architecture» will be updated in a revised edition.
Location: Place Kléber 67000 Strasbourg
Tram: Homme de Fer
Hours: Open Wednesday to Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday
Special hours reserved for groups through the educational services of the museums or by guides at the Tourist office of Strasbourg.
Group visits: For all group visits of 10 people or more, reservations are required at 03 88 88 50 50 (Monday-Friday from 8:30-12:30).
Prices: Entrance to the Aubette is free throughout the duration of the Art is Arp, exhibition running from October 17th , 2008 to February 15th , 2009.