Colorado & Regional Art

four chromatic gates maquette

four chromatic gates maquette

Year 1982

Artist herbert bayer (1900–1985, American, b. Austria)

Media wood

Dimensions 3 x 4 1/2 x 3 inches

herbert bayer* was a student and teacher of the German Bauhaus before later settling in Colorado. At the end of 1974, health reasons led him to leave Aspen, CO, and relocate to Montecito, CA, where he continued his consulting work for the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), an oil and gas corporation. bayer entered a period of painting and creating sculptural models, many from wood but also using plastic and metal. A series of sculptures he called chromatic gates were inspired by gates he had seen while traveling in the deserts of Morocco and the way the sunlight interacted with them. The bold primary colors he applied to this series of sculptures were a common theme throughout his design work. Most of the models were never built as large-scale sculptures, but one of them, four chromatic gates, was commissioned by ARCO and installed as a 16-foot-tall outdoor artwork at their Oil and Gas Division offices in Dallas, TX, in 1984.


This balsa wood maquette, one of at least three variations of the four chromatic gates theme, was acquired by Kirkland Museum in 2010 and became the inspiration for a public art piece in Denver in 2021. Working with D4Urban and the herbert bayer estate, the Museum assisted with photographing and measuring the piece to see it realized into a full-sized metal sculpture at Cherokee Street and Alaska Place in Denver’s Design District along South Broadway, where it joins bayer’s 85-foot-high articulated wall sculpture (1985).


To read more about bayer, click here.


*bayer believed in and designed idealized, universal typefaces without serifs and using only lowercase letters (his name and titles are left lowercase in homage to him).

ON VIEW in Bauhaus Gallery 5

Signature unsigned

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2010.0421