This exhibition showcases Rochester artists and visionaries Claude Bragdon and Fritz Trautmann, whose shared ideas about cosmic forces in art and life fueled a steady friendship until Bragdon’s death in 1946. While Bragdon—architect, author, and stage designer—has been the subject of books and exhibitions in recent years, this will be the first examination of Trautmann’s contributions as a colorist, longtime teacher at the Gallery’s Creative Workshop, and painter of Galaxy, a visitor favorite.

Also on view are their unpublished letters and writings, in which Bragdon and the younger Trautmann probed the elements of art and perception and explored unknown realms of the imagination.

About the artists

Architect, author and theater designer Claude Bragdon excelled in multiple fields and disciplines. One of his most significant innovations was “projective ornament”—a design system he invented. In this and in much of his creative endeavor, Bragdon saw deep organic connections with the natural world that were informed by his belief in theosophy, his sympathy with Eastern thought and his desire to unite a society fractured along lines of race, gender, class and religion. Recently, he has been the subject of an exhibition at the University of Rochester and a book published by the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Fritz Trautmann began his career in the early 20th century as a landscape architect in Rochester. He spent years seeking alternative outlets for his creative spirit and his love for color, painting and philosophy; he ultimately found his passion in teaching. For nearly 50 years, Trautmann taught painting and his unique color theory at the Mechanics Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology) and the Memorial Art Gallery’s art school, the Creative Workshop.

Presented in honor of Jean France, architectural historian.