Lot 3405* - A187 PostWar & Contemporary - Saturday, 08. December 2018, 02.00 PM
(Pécs 1906–1997 Paris)
Acrylic on wood.
With the faded signture lower centre: Vasarely, as well as hardly visible signed and inscribed on the reverse: Vasarely VA-26 (A138?) TRIDIUM 72 x 42.
72 x 42 cm.
The authenticity has been confirmed by Pierre Vasarely, director of the Fondation Vasarely and owner of the Droit Moral of Victor Vasarely, Aix-en-Provence, July 2018. We thank Pierre Vasarely for his kind support.
This work will be included in the forthcoming "Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint de Victor Vasarely".
- Formerly Galerie Bailly, Geneva.
- Purchased from the above by the present owner, since then private collection Switzerland.
Victor Vasarely is regarded as the founding father of Op-Art. During the 1960s and 1970s his kinetic works formed part of popular culture and these had a great influence on the art, architecture and fashion of that period. Before pursuing a career in art, the Hungarian born Vasarely studied medicine in Budapest. In 1927 he broke off his studies and began a traditional painting course at the Podolni-Volkmann Art Academy, before he switched to the Mühely Academy in 1929. Here, while immersed in the Bauhaus-oriented style of teaching, he was able to pursue his leaning towards the connection between mathematical principles and artistic expression. Initially, however, his reduced graphic style met with a positive response only in the advertising sector. After moving to Paris in 1930, he worked on numerous commissions as graphic designer and consultant for the advertising agencies Havas, Draeger and Devambez. In the process he discovered that, using geometric motifs, it was possible to evoke sensory responses in the viewer, which would convey new ideas on space, matter and energy. Vasarely developed an independent geometric abstraction, with variations which lead to optical patterns with kinetic effects. The following decade finally brought him due recognition as an artist, after he exhibited his works at the “Salon des Surindependants” (1945 and 1946), the “Salon de Realités Nouvelles” (1947) and the renowned Denise René Galerie (1944 and 1948).
He enjoyed these initial successes with an abstract style which in composition is somewhat reminiscent of the work of Le Corbusier or Piet Mondrian. Looking back, however, this phase of abstraction was a decisive stage on the path towards nonfigurative form. It shows Vasarely’s career to be a plausible development from reduction to a complete renunciation of figurative models. Victor Vasarely’s essential trust in the pure formal arrangement of the pictorial surface was drawn not least from his profound understanding of geometric structures. On this basis he founded the movement which uses optical illusions in its compositions, today known as “Op Art”.
The two works offered here at auction (lot 3405 und 3407) are both exemplary pieces: the rectangular tall format painting “Tridium” is dominated by a weave of saturated and luminous colours, that are tightly arranged in geometric forms. Despite the forms being of the same dimensions and despite the systematic arrangement of the square shapes on the background pattern, there emerges a dynamism in the composition as a whole, driven by the optical illusion of movement in the splintering of colour. The dark frame appears to contain the central fluidity. The second work offered at auction comes from 1973. The geometric black-grey-white latticework on the rectangular canvas, entitled “KASS-II”, is sufficient in itself without colours. The structure of the subdivisions, the arrangement of the systematic forms and the graduated colour nuances between black and white, create in the eye of the viewer the impression of fluctuating movement.
Today the artist’s works are present in the most important collections of the world, as well as in public spaces – this began in 1954 with a design for the University of Caracas, he designed numerous murals in metal and ceramic for buildings in France, and also the official spiral logo of the XX Olympiad in Munich. His artworks were often presented at the Documenta exhibitions between the years of 1955 to 1968. In 1976 the Vasarely Museum opened in the town of his birth, Pécs. Also, in 1987 he gave over a part of his works to Schloss Zichy in Budapest. In 1976 Vasarely set up the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence, which is worth a visit.
CHF 24 000 / 28 000 | (€ 24 740 / 28 870)
Sold for CHF 24 500 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.