Victor Vasarely

Victor Vasarely (1908, Hungary - 1997, France), Hungarian-born French painter of geometric abstractions who became one of the leading figures of the Op art movement- Optical art, geometric abstract art that deals with optical illusion. Achieved through the systematic and precise manipulation of shapes and colours, can be based either on perspective illusion or on chromatic tension. Purposeful manipulation of formal relationships in order to evoke perceptual illusionsambiguities, and contradictions in the vision of the viewer.

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. In 1930 he left Hungary and settled in Paris, where he initially supported himself as a graphic artist but continued to do his own work. Vasarely experimented in a style based in Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism during the 1940s, before arriving at his hallmark checkerboard works. During the 1930s he was influenced by Constructivism, but by the 1940s his characteristic style of painting animated surfaces of geometric forms and interacting colours had emerged. His style reached maturity in the mid-1950s and 1960s, when he began using brighter, more vibrant colours to further enhance the suggestion of movement through optical illusion

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.

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