Today would have been Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s 127th birthday and Google is celebrating it with an honorary Doodle in the style of her iconic abstract and geometric artwork.
Born Sophie Henrietta Gertrude Tauber, in Davos, Switzerland in 1889, she was one of the foremost figures of the rebellious Dada art movement. The avant-garde movement, begining after World War One, started as a reaction to the millions that died as a result of the war.
Dadism, as it was known, involved using unusual materials in an abstract way, often forming experimental composition using geometric shapes.
Her artistic hand covered painting, designing, weaving, puppetry and dancing. The creative also fought for her style of art to be considered as fine art, and as a result, became one of the 20th Century’s most prominent female artists, bridging the gap between fine and applied arts.
She began her art studies in Switzerland at the School of applied Arts in St Gallen between 1906 and 1910, and then moved to Munich, Germany to the workshop of Wilhelm von Debschits and spent a year at the School of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg.
Taeuber-Arp attended the Laban School of Dance in Zurich in 1916 and spent that summer at the artist colony of Monte Verita in Ascona and danced with the pioneer of expressionist dance, Mary Wigman.
After marrying Jean Arp in 1922, who she met at an art exhibition at the Tanner Gallery, the pair created abstract work together.
Her day job was teaching embroidery and weaving at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich, and by night she went in disguise to Dada soirées to protect her identity and teaching job.
The pair moved to France in 1926, where she exhibited her work, but later escaped Nazi occupation and returned to Zurich in 1942. She died a year later after carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty stove.
Taeuber-Arp is the only woman to appear on the current set of bank notes in Switzerland. Her face has been on the 50-franc note since 1995.
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