Irmanipulations   IRMAnipulations, d.i. Irma Hünerfauth (1907 Donaueschingen - Kreuth 1998)   German Version

Irma Hünerfauth
...I am assured that my work will be difficult to understand for the majority of our society...

Irma Hünerfauth, 1971

Homage to an remarkable German women artist in the postwar era, who rebelled against traditional academic art, was led to abstract painting by Conrad Westphal (1891-1976) in the 1950s, worked expressive in several technics and mostly on large sized canvas, then in 1962 attended a course on welding and invaded the traditionally male artist's reserved domain of scrap sculptures and alike Jean Tinguely turned junkyard scrap into whimsical sculptures, machines and kinetic art objects that mocked consumer society.
Latest exhibitions:

May 19 - Jul 9, 2023. Solo exhibition of Speaking Boxes and Vibration Objects at the SIMIAN Art Center Copenhagen... Check out >>

Headline in the international renowned art magazine Artforum for Irma Hünerfauth by Alice Goodwin …' Together, these kinetic assemblages speak to the crises of pollution and loneliness, industrialization and war, of the second half of the twentieth century, but they feel eerily prescient in their anticipation of the cybernetic systems that are now part of the fabric of our society’… Numerous impressions of this exhibition can be found at ArtViewer... Check out >>

4th of June to 3rd of October 2022. The 15th edition of the Triennial of Small Sculpture Fellbach under the title 'The Vibration of Things' a group exhibition of international contemporary women artists, curated by Elke aus dem Moore, shows two major works by Irma Hünerfauth, the speaking box ‘To Be Like Grass‘ and the vibration object 'Isolation’… Check out >>

April 17 - June 5, 2021. Fire demands its Fuel. Drei, Mönchengladbach (curated by Elisa R. Linn and Lennart Wolff). Group exhibition including a 'Speaking box' by Irma Hünerfauth… Check out >>

December 21, 2020. Stadtmuseum Munich, collection online and album 'Family', with an early painting by Irma Hünerfauth, from the collection of the museum. Check out >>

April 12 - July 28, 2019. Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin: Group exhibition 'Straying from the Line' including a 'Speaking box' by Irma Hünerfauth. Check out >>

March 20, 2018 - May 20, 2020. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus Munich, 'I'm a Believer. Pop Art and Contemporary Art by Rupprecht Geiger, Günter Fruhtrunk and two large-sized paintings by Irma Hünerfauth'... Check out >>
Climate protection!
Climate protection
"Instead of Air - Big City Atmosphere"
The artist already reminded in the year 1971 with her impressiv over two meter high sculpture with gas mask and opened lungs about air pollution by carbon monoxide in big cities. This issue is more relevant today than ever before.

...with these objects her work is attributable to the Nouveaux Réalistes group, artists such as Niki de Saint-Phalle, Jean Tinguely, Arman as well as Daniel Spoerri...

Dr. Susanna Partsch in: AKL, World Biographical Dictionary of Artists, vol. 75, De Gruyter Saur, Berlin, 2012-2013.

Retrospection of an remarkable and wrongfully forgotten German women artist, while comparable working women artists of this period are already represented and successful celebrated in solo and group shows in the USA within the last few years.
Goethe Institut London
The term "IRMAnipulations" was established in 1983 during an exhibition of her works at London's Goethe Institute and has since then retained by the artist as a kind of trademark
See IRMAnipulations, Publisher Antje Kunstmann, Munich, 1984.
Irma Hünerfauth attempts to bring the inventive impulse to an inner equilibrium by supporting it with a meditative character. Together the severity of the order and the softness of the whole gain the dramatic power of the dialogue. The dialogue lends movement and a facetting to the surface which seems haunted by a kind of dream…

Conrad Westpfahl (1891-1976)

Abstract expressionism and Action Painting by Irma Hünerfauth of the 1950s and 1960s in Munich, alike Jackson Pollock, Grace Hartigan or Joan Mitchell.

Irma Hünerfauths paintings cannot singularly be seen as works of the Informal arts. The drawing is always very strong, even in her large sized paintings. There are lineaments, chromatic accords and linear tension that define the composition, in which even empty spaces are integrated, and which she later advanced with collages to combine painting. The renowned art critics Peter Lufft (1911-1997) and Franz Roh (1890-1965) stated that she didn't decided either to tachism nor a linear constructivism by now. Her style of painting is a very individual crossing of quietness and movement within the picture.
Abstract expressionism
Untitled, 1964. Dispersion on canvas, 132 x 162,5 cm (52 by 63.8 in). Signed lower right. Original framed by the artist.
Abstract expressionism
Untitled, 1963. Colour ink drawing on paper, 35 x 51,5 cm (13.8 by 20.1 in). Signed and dated lower right.
…We believe to have found in Irma Hünerfauth one of the most original artists in Germany. She was first introduced to the public in 1958 by the "Association of the Friends of Young Art" in Munich…

Franz Rohl (1890-1965)

...About my paintings I would like to say: Get into the picture by feeling your way with your eyes; the lines will be leading you. I wish for the viewer to succeed through his communication with the work of art to be freed from his own self and to find himself anew in another sphere of consciousness…

Irma Hünerfauth, 1.1.1960
The Time is Now !
In 1968/69 she ultimately turned away from painting and begins, besides her sculpture work, first experiments to combine her art with music, sound and speech. Hünerfauth constructed kinetic vibrational objects and her unique so-called "speaking boxes", filled with industrial scrap. Then she created large sized relief-like, more two-dimensional compositions, named panel picture or metal collage. Followed by her so called "Artist's Prayer Books" which she decorated with scrap and other finds. Altogether an impressive creative development which we didn't recognize by other artists of this era.
Blue Pistol
Blaue Pistole (Blue Pistol), 1973. Speaking box, 39 x 41 x 21 cm. (high by 15.3 in, wide by 16.1 in, deep by 8.3 in). Background image: Offset print. Audiotape. Text: Meta Kristall. Manual operation / actuation by hand. Photo byHans-Wulf Kunze, Magdeburg.
Irma Hünerfauth is also one of the artists of the so-called "lost generation", a wrongfully forgotten generation of artists because of the historical circumstances of the early 20th century.

See Ingrid von der Dollen, Malerinnen im 20. Jahrhundert, Bildkunst der "verschollenen Generation" [Woman Painter of the 20th Century, Painted works of the Lost Generation], Publisher Hirmer Verlag, Munich, 2000.

…I became an artist because I was not good for anything else…

Irma Hünerfauth, 1984

And this for sure wasn't an easy choice for a young women, who experimented in the German postwar era of the 1950s and 1960s excessively with abstract painting technics and followed new radical contemporary art trends like readymades and then even decided to build scrap sculptures just as if it would have been a natural activity for women at this time.

Hünerfauths complete works consists just an relative small Œuvre and only a few years ago there wasn't barely any information about the artist available. All previous publications, such as the cited reference literature as well as the major monograph of her work, which was published in 1984 to her solo exhibition in Munich are out of print in the meantime, were not reprinted and are only but very rare to find at antiquarian bookstores. Even the current entry of her biography in AKL, World Biographical Dictionary of Artists (vol. 75. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin, 2012-13) is not available for everyone at any time because these relatively expensive volumes hold major public libraries only.

The artist, who participated between 1946 - 1998 in numerous exhibitions and whose artworks sold during her lifetime for very respectable sums, see following price list, went mostly directly to public collections and rather seldom to private collectors. Therefore her work is today rather rare to find at the so-called secondary art and auction market and distinctly underestimated. A retrospective exhibition and critical revaluation of her oeuvre is still overdue today.

price list
Further impressive women artists of this fascinating art period which have been notable revalued within the last few years are e.g.:

Hannelore Baron (1926-1987), Mary Bauermeister (b.1934), Lynda Benglis (b. 1941), Lee Bontecou (b.1931), Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), Feliza Bursztyn (1933-1982), Rosemarie Castoro (1939-2015), Barbara Chase-Riboud (b. 1939), Jay DeFeo (1929-1989), Dorothy Dehner (1901-1994), Claire Falkenstein (1908-1997), Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011), Gertrud Goldschmidt (1912-1994), Elsa Gramcko (1925-1994), Gertrude Greene (1904-1956), Nancy Grossman (b.1940), Grace Hartigan (1922-2008), Eva Hesse (1936-1970), Lee Krasner (1908-1984), Alice Trumbull Mason (1904-1971), Joan Mitchell (1925-1992), Louise Nevelson (1900-1988), Pat Passlof (1928-2011), Beverly Pepper (b. 1922), Betye Saar (b.1926), Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019), Janet Sobel (1894-1968), Nancy Spero (1927-2009), Hedda Sterne (1910-2011), Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012).

One of the latest studies about the art-market compiled from public sales between 2000 and 2017 still reveal discrimination against female artists in the market for fine art and the study’s authors also examined that many women artist still are not appropriately established at the so-called secondary art and auction market (, but there is currently comming a change in trend see exhibition at MoMA “Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction,” and the growing number of shows representing works by women artists, revaluing overlooked and underestimated art after 1960 and women artist of the 1960s.

See also:

The Time Is Now - Women artists at
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, June 17 – August 4, 2017

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985
The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, September 15- December 31, 2017
For further information about the artist's work, we also refer to the Wikipedia article by Dr. Stephan Pastenaci, Berlin.
estate of the artist

We represent and document the estate of the artist, consisting of numerous correspondences, inventory as well as exhibition lists, and extensive photographic material of the artist's work. The rights to all works published on this website has been reserved by us.

A catalogue raisonné is in preparation. Works on this website or reproduced in the monograph will be added to the catalogue raisonné. Photos with an unsettled copyrights dispute cannot be published currently.

The present owners and the whereabouts of all works are not known completely by now. Therefore, we endeavor to prove the provenance of all individual works as accurately as possible. Owners of works as well as anyone with relevant information is requested to contact us at the following mail address:

All information will be treated with discretion.

Thus, this website shows by now only a small part of an interesting and exciting multifaceted work by the artist. The pages will be updated successively with works from the archive, private and public collections. After completing cataloging, work numbers, a chronological arrangement and a clear page register will follow.

A rewarding discovery for all who are interested in German post-war art and their further development, for those who search for unconsumed art and upcoming unrecognized artists. And also an entertaining journey back to the Revolution without program, to the strong artistic impulses of the 1960s and radically realistic expressions, an animation of the object, as Pierre Restany stated it. Behind the term "IRMAnipulations" you will find a remarkable provocative artist of her time. Although she was by no means inferior to the artists of the Nouveau Réalistes, especially considering her complete oeuvre, which has achieved a wide range of very interesting works and expressed itself in serious and sensitive time-critical statements.

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Keywords: abstraction, abstract painting Anouj, Arman, Armand Fernandez, Ars Povera, César Baldaccini, Joseph Beuys, Fernando Botero, Peter Brüning, Alberto Burri, Alexander Calder, Christo, Deschamps, Marcel Deschamps, François Dufrêne, electronic art, Robert Filliou, Fluxus, Winfried Gaul, Gilbert & George, Gemälde, Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel, Raymond Hains, Happening, Hard-Edge, Raoul Hausmann, Pierre Henry, IRMAnipulations, Allan Jones, Alain Jouffroy, Yves Klein, kinetic, kinetic art, Carl-Heinz Kliemann, Arthur Køpcke, The Time Is Now, Women Artists, Irma Blank, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ruth Asawa, Hannelore Baron, Mary Bauermeister, Lee Bontecou, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Elaine de Kooning, Jay DeFeo, Claire Falkenstein, Gertrude Greene, Nancy Grossman, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, Yayoi Kusama, Lee Lozano, Alice Trumbull Mason, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Agnes Pelton, Irene Rice Pereira, Florence Miller Pierce, Anne Ryan, Betye Saar, Kay Sage, Dorothea Tanning, Lenore Tawney, Alma Thomas, Charmion von Wiegand, Claire Zeisler, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Hedda Sterne, Norbert Kricke, art 1960-1970, art after 1945, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Yoshikuni Lida, George Maciunas, Heinz Mack, painting 1960-1980, minimal Art, Henry Moore, Nouveau Réalisme, Nouveaux Réalistes, Objects, Object art, Yoko Ono, Op Art, Benjamin Patterson, Niki de Saint Phalle, Plastiken, Pop, pop realism, post-painterly, readymades, Pierre Restany, revolution without programm, Arnulf Rainer, Martial Raysse, Dieter Roth, Mimmo Rotella, Schrottplastiken, Bernhard Schultze, Ursula Schultze-Bluhm, Daniel Spoerri, Kurt Schwitters, David Smith, Skulpturen, Takis, Jean Tinguely, Jacques de la Villeglé, Wolf Vostell, Andy Warhol, Stefan Wewerka, Emmett Williams, Fritz Wotruba, Zeichnungen, Yaacov Agam, Pol Bury, Rebecca Horn, George Rickey, Jesús Rafael Soto, David Ascalon, Siegfried Cremer, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Gianni Colombo, Hugo Demarco, Milan Dobeš, Bernward Frank, Arthur Ganson, Rolf Glasmeier, Gerhard von Graevenitz, Franz Gsellmann, Günter Haese, Jeppe Hein, Michael Hischer, Gernot Huber, Theo Jansen, Hans-Michael Kissel, Gyula Kosice, Piotr Kowalski, Harry Kramer, Julio Le Parc, Gereon Lepper, Kenneth Martin, David Medalla, Youri Messen-Jaschin, Hans Walter Müller, Christian Nienhaus, Lev V. Nussberg, Alejandro Otero, Karl-Ludwig Schmaltz, Hein Sinken, Curt Stenvert, Takis, Paul Talman, Christian Tobin, Günter Tollmann, Per Olof Ultvedt, Hanns-Martin Wagner, Hans Salentin, Pablo Picasso, Ferromontagen, kinetic objects, materialpictures, object art, Meret Oppenheim, Objet trouvé, Multiple, art museuns, museum, artmuseum, art collection, Andre Breton, Germano Celant, Alighiero Boetti, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Pino Pascali, Giulio Paolini, Emilio Prini, Alfred Gulden, Giovanni Anselmo, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Gino de Dominicis, Luciano Fabro, Eva Hesse, Thomas Kovachevich, Mario Merz, Anna Oppermann, Giuseppe Penone, Vettor Pisani, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Fabrizio Plessi, Salvo, Salvatore Mangione, Josef Überall, Gilberto Zorio, Pol Bury, Siegfried Cremer, George Rickey, Vassilakis Takis, Günter Haese, Bewegung, László Moholy-Nagys, Licht-Raum-Modulator, Wladimir Tatlin, Man Rays, Naum Gabos, Antoine Pevsner, metal sculptures, Kurt Link, Hans Salentin, Charles Wilp, Alfred Schmela, David Smith, Almir Mavignier, Hermann Goepfert, Christian Megert, Sonia Gechtoff, Gotthard Graubner, Kuno Gonschior, Adolf Luther, gruppo t, nul, GUTAI, Dick Higgins, Bengt af Klintberg, Alison Knowles, Staffan Olzon, Nam June Paik, George Maciunas, Jackson Mac Low, Benjamin Patterson, Tomas Schmit, Frank Trowbridge, Emmett Williams, Joseph Beuys, Zero

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