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Victor Vasarely
"Untitled" Abstract, Geometric, Squares, Cubes, Hexagon, Colors, Movement

$2,400

About

Victor Vasarely born in 1906 was a Hungarian-French artist, who is widely accepted as a "grandfather" and leader of the Op Art movement. Op Art is a form of abstract art that gives the illusion of movement by the precise use of pattern and color, or in which conflicting patterns emerge and overlap. Victor Vasarely and Brigit Riley are its most famous exponents. In its visual balancing act of color and movement from a flat plane to developed continuous flow “Untitled” is a complex arrangement of squares and colors that visually expand and contract. It is one of Vasarely’s most successful Op Art abstract works. The piece is signed on the lower right and number 20/150 on the lower left. The print is behind glass and matted. Vasarely was born in Pecs and grew up in Slovakia and Budapest, where in 1925, he took up medical studies. Abandoning medicine he turned to traditional academic painting at the private Podolini-Volkmann Academy. In 1928/1929, he enrolled at Sandor Bortnyik’s private art school widely recognized as Budapest's centre of Bauhaus studies. His studies concentrated on applied graphic art and typographical design. In 1929, he painted his Blue Study and Green Study. In 1930, he married his fellow student Claire Spinner (1908–1990). Together they had two sons, Andre and Jean-Pierre. Vasarely became a graphic designer and a poster artist during the 1930s combining patterns and organic images with each other. Vasarely utilized geometric shapes and colorful graphics, the artist created compelling illusions of spatial depth, as seen in his work Vega-Nor (1969). Vasarely’s method of painting borrowed from a range of influences, including Bauhaus design principles, Wassily Kandinsky, and Constructivism. In the late 1920s, Vasarely enrolled at the Muhely Academy in Budapest, where the syllabus was largely based on Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus school in Germany. After settling in Paris in 1930, Vasarely worked in advertising agencies to support himself as a graphic artist while creating many works including Zebra (1937), which is considered by some to be one of the earliest examples of Op Art. The artist experimented in a style based in Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism during the 1940s, before arriving at his hallmark checkerboard paintings. During 1947–1951 Vasarely found his own style. The overlapping developments are named after their geographical heritage. Denfert refers to the works influenced by the white tiled walls of the Paris Denfert – Rochereau metro station. Ellipsoid pebbles and shells found during a vacation in 1947 at the Breton coast at Belle Ile inspired him to the Belles-Isles works. Since 1948, Vasarely usually spent his summer months in Gordes in Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. There, the cubic houses led him to the composition of the group of works labelled Gordes/Cristal. He worked on the problem of empty and filled spaces on a flat surface as well as the stereoscopic view. 1965 Vasarely began his series Hommage a l’hexagon, Vega: The Tribute to the hexagon series consisting of endless transformations of indentations and relief adding color variations, creating a perpetual mobile of optical illusion. In 1965 Vasarely was included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Responsive Eye, created under the direction of William C. Seitz. His Vega series plays with spherical swelling grids creating an optical illusion of volume. Vasarely died at age 90 on March 15, 1997 in Paris, France. His works are presently held in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. In 2019, a temporary exhibition of Vasarely's work entitled Le Partage des Formes was displayed in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

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About the Artist

Victor Vasarely

Widely considered the grandfather of Op art, the French-Hungarian painter Victor Vasarely (1906–97) created eye-popping geometric abstractions that play with the viewer’s perception of depth, perspective and motion. A classic example is the 1937 Zebra, which consists of undulating black and white stripes that suggest the form of the titular animal through optical trickery. The work is often credited as the earliest Op art painting.

Such illusions were more than pleasing tricks for Vasarely, who insisted that “pure form and pure color can signify the world.” He wanted to “democratize” art by producing works in large editions at reasonable prices that were understandable across national and cultural boundaries. In the 1960s, he developed an alphabet plastique, or fine art alphabet, consisting of elementary visual building blocks that could be used in endless combinations to create original compositions. By employing this universal visual vocabulary and stripping away topical references, he sought to create what he called a “Planetary Folklore.”

Embodying Vasarely’s singular belief that art should serve a social function, accessible to all, these innovations may perhaps be his greatest contribution to 20th-century art.

Find a collection of Victor Vasarely prints, paintings, sculptures and other art on 1stDibs.

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