Victor Vasarely

Titre: Orion-Or
Technique: Détrempe sur panneau
Signé(e) et daté(e): 1962-64
Dimension: 84 x 81 cm

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 

The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Morton G. Neumann

Christie's New York, Nov. 2, 1984, Lot 292

Private Collection, Montreal 


The present work illustrates a synthesis of Victor Vasarely's visual principles that involved modes of constructive harmony and lustrous speed. Beginning with the square as a schematic diagram to be later divided into multiple planes according to value and rhythm, its format captures a sense of international perception defined at once by spiritual dynamism and at the same time by a conquest of science and social structure. Vasarely as early as 1954 shaped the parameters of what would define his totemic position within the canon of Op Art: a plastic fusion and concentration of colored and geometric gestation in terms of physiological shock, reflecting the rapidity that the artist felt was occurring in his increasingly industrialized surroundings. With bold color and a highly geometric pattern, Orion-or is an excellent example of Vasarely's developed style, and career-long exploration of color, form, and the optical potential of the two-dimensional surface.

Victor Vasarely was a French-Hungarian artist credited as the pioneer of the Op Art movement. Vasarely's method of painting borrowed from influences including Bauhaus design principles, the work of Wassily Kandinsky, and Constructivism. Born Győző Vásárhelyi in 1906 in Pécs, Hungary, the artist in the late 1920s enrolled at the Muhely Academy in Budapest, where the syllabus was largely based on Walter Gropius's Bauhaus school. After settling in Paris in 1930, Vasarely worked in advertising, and later experimented with a style based on Surrealism during the 1940s, before beginning his hallmark optical paintings. The artist passed away in 1997 in Paris, and today his works are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, among many other prestigious institutions. A major retrospective of the artist's work was held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2019.


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