Victor VASARELY |
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Hungary 1908 - 1997
Vasarely is internationally recognized as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. He is the initiator of a unique aesthetic adventure against the grain of every tradition.
He is the acknowledged leader of the Op Art movement, and his innovations in color and optical illusion have had a strong influence on many modern artists.
Vasarely was born in Pecs, Hungary in April 9,1908. Died 1997, Paris, France.
After receiving his baccalaureate degree in 1925, he began studying art at the Podolini-Volkmann Academy in Budapest. In 1928, he transferred to the Muhely Academy, also known as the Budapest Bauhaus, where he studied with Alexander Bortnijik. At the Academy, he became familiar with the contemporary research in color and optics by Jaohannes Itten, Josef Albers, and the Constructivists Malevich and Kandinsky. After his first one-man show in 1930, at the Kovacs Akos Gallery in Budapest, Vasarely moved to Paris, where he developed his particular vision which stems from the idea of democratizing the art object. For the next thirteen years, he devoted himself to graphic studies. His lifelong fascination with linear patterning led him to draw figurative and abstract patterned subjects, such as his series of harlequins, checkers, tigers, and zebras. During this period, Vasarely also created multi-dimensional works of art by super-imposing patterned layers of cellophane on one another to attain the illusion of depth.
In 1943, Vasarely began to work extensively in oils, creating both abstract and figurative canvases. His first Parisian exhibition was the following year at the Galerie Denise Rene which he helped found. Vasarely became the recognized leader of the avant-garde group of artists affiliated with the gallery. In 1955, Galerie Denise Rene hosted a major group exhibition in connection with Vasarely's painting experiments with movement.
This was the first important exhibition of kinetic art and included works by Yaacov Agam, Pol Bury, Soto, and Jean Tinguely, among others.
In 1947, Vasarely discovered his place in abstract art. Influenced by his experiences at Breton Beach of Belle Isle, he concluded that "internal geometry" could be seen below the surface of the entire world. He conceived that form and color are inseparable. "Every form is a base for color, every color is the attribute of a form." Forms from nature were thus transposed into purely abstract elements in his paintings. Recognizing the inner geometry of nature, Vasarely wrote, "the ellipsoid form...will slowly, but tenaciously, take hold of the surface, and become its raison d'etre. Henceforth, this ovoid form will signify in all my works of this period, the 'oceanic feeling'...I can no longer admit an inner world and another, an outer world, apart. The within and the without communicate by osmosis, or, one might rather say: the spatial-material universe, energetic-living, feeling-thinking, form a whole, indivisible...The languages of the spirit are but the supervibrations of the great physical nature."
During the 1950's, Vasarely wrote a series of manifestos on the use of optical phenomena for artistic purposes. Together with his paintings, these were a significant influence on younger artists.Influenced greatly by the problems of the world's cities, he feels his work offers a solution by presenting a clear view of the "color-surface-perception" relationship. He has used the income from the sale of these "investigations," as he calls his prints, to establish a socio-cultural foundation in Aix-en-Provence, France, for the study of the integration of plastic beauty at all levels of the urban environment.
His writings defined the philosophy of Op Art and explored the science of optical effects and illusions. He was a pioneer in the development of almost every form of optical device for the creation of a new art of visual illusion. Typically, the artist arranges a large number of small, nearly identical geometric shapes in patterns that generate vivid illusions of depth and, in some cases, motion.For example, Vasarely uses various devices in his paintings to create the illusion of movement and change within abstract elements. The pieces appear to be bulging at the top; but in reality are flat 2-dimensional canvas.
According to the artist, "In the last analysis, the picture-object in pure composition appears to me as the last link in the family 'paintings,' still possessing by its shining beauty, an end in itself. But it is already more than a painting, the forms and colors which compose it are still situated on the plane, but the plastic event which they trigger fuses in front of and in the plane. It is thereby an end, but also a beginning, a kind of launching pad for future achievements." Forerunner and theorician of optical and kinetic art, he is considered among the most important contemporary artists. He published the first manifest of kinetic art, "Le Manifeste Jaune" in 1955.Vasarely's works are on display in the most important and private collections throughout the world.
His major one-man exhibitions
1930 Galerie Kovacs Akos, Budapest
1933 Musée Ernst, Budapest
1944 Galerie Denise René, Paris
1946 Galerie Denise René, Paris
1949 Galerie Denise René, Paris
1950 Galerie Arne Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhague
1952 Galerie Denise René, Paris - Galerie Samlaren, Stockholm
1954 Palais des Beaux-Arts Bruxelles - APIAW, Liège
1955 Galerie Denise René, Paris
1956 Galerie Blanche, Stockholm - Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne
1958 Galerie Rose Fried, New York - Galleria del Grattacielo, Milan - Musée National des Beaux-Arts, Buenos Aires – Musée d’Art Moderne, Montevideo
1959 Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne -“ Tableaux cinétiques “, Galerie Denise René, Paris - Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caracas
1960 Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles - Galerie Denise René, Paris
1961 Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne - Galleria Lorenzelli, Milan – « Collages », Galerie Le Point Cardinal, Paris - « Collages et oeuvres récentes », Galerie Artek, Helsinki - World House Galleries, New York - Hanover-Gallery, Londres
1962 Galerie Kaare Berntsen, Oslo – The Pace Gallery, Boston - Galerie Le Point Cardinal, Paris - Galerie Artek, Helsinki
1963 Taft Museum, Cincinnati - « L’Unité Plastique » Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Pavillon de Marsan, Paris - Kunst Kabinet Klihm, Munich (Serigraphien) - Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanovre
1964 Conférence Vasarely « Vasarely et l’Art Social «. Grande Masse de I’ENSBA, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris - Kunsthalle. Dusseldorf - The Pace Gallery, New York - Le Point Cardinal, Paris - Kunsthalle, Berne - Galerie Hybler, Copenhague - Brook Street Gallery, Londres - Haus am Waldsee, Berlin -Gemeente Museum, La Haye – Galerie Renée Ziegler, Zurich
1965 Hanover Gallery, Londres - Galerie Deposito, Gênes - Pace Gallery, New York - Galerie Handschin, Bâle - Galerie Muller,Stuttgart
1966 Sidney Janis Gallery, New York - Hayden Gallery. Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Planches de Sérigraphies, Chrudim - Brook Street Gallery, Londres - Overbeck-Gesellschaft, Lübeck - Exposition de Sérigraphies, Galerie D, Prague – Galerie Denise René, Paris - Exposition de l’oeuvre multipliable de Vasarely, Galerie Denise René, rive gauche, Paris - Exposition de Sérigra
phies et Sculptures. Aura Krognoshuset, Lund - Exposition de Sérigraphies, l’Armitière, Rouen - Galerie Aktuell, Berne - Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne
1967 Tapisseries récentes Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Pavillon de Marsan – « Multiples » Galerie Denise René, rive gauche, Paris – « Oeuvres Graphiques de Vasarely » à la sortie aux Editions du Soleil Noir de Code, texte de J.C. Lambert, illustré par Vasarely - Exposition itinérante De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, ...
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