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    Sale 5417

    Post-War & Contemporary Art

    2 April 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 657

    Serge Poliakoff (1906-1969)


    Price Realised  


    Serge Poliakoff (1906-1969)
    signed 'SERGE POLIAKOFF' (lower right)
    oil on panel
    37 7/8 x 51 1/8in. (96 x 130cm.)
    Executed circa 1958

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    To be included in the second volume of the Serge Poliakoff catalogue raisonné being prepared by Alexis Poliakoff, Paris.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Galerie Louis Carré & Co., Paris (D6579).
    Galerie d'Art Colisée, Paris.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Form goes on towards infinity and can become a monumental fresco look at the form in the centre: immobile, silent that's what I look for If I begin the composition from the centre, the painting, no matter how great the dimensions, becomes very small

    Serge Poliakoff, as quoted in F. Brütsch, Serge Poliakoff (1900- 1969), Editions et Calendes, Neuchbtel, 1993, p. 37.

    Composition of 1958 by Serge Poliakoff does indeed bear this quality of the 'monumental fresco' that the artist had spoken about. Both the work's scale and the simplicity of its inter-locking forms combine to create its impressive aesthetic, which is again enhanced by the monochrome colouring. A member of the Icole de Paris, Poliakoff had only been able to give up being a musician and paint for a living in 1952, only six years prior to the completion of this work. 1958 had been a year of success, with major exhibitions of the artist's work across Europe and representation at international art expositions like Documenta II and III, and the International Exhibition of Contemporary painting at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh.
    Of all the painters of the Ecole de Paris, Poliakoff is the one that keeps the promises of those great preceding generations One great cycle of modern painting that goes from Turner to Poliakoff

    Gualtieri di San Lazzaro, from the preface to the 1958 Poliakoff exhibition at the Galleria Selecta in Rome, as quoted in F. Brütsch, Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969), Editions et Calendes, Neuchbtel, 1993, p. 174.

    Created during this period of creative prowess and critical recognition, Composition represents Poliakoff's mature style, demonstrating the artist's interest in abstraction and the expressive capacities of form at its height.


    Charleroi, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Fragments d'une Histoire de l'Art: dédiée á Robert Rousseau, November 1983-January 1984, no. 59 (illustrated).