Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTION
Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965)

Composition émanante de l'hyperbole équilatère xy=k avec accord de vert et rouge

Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965)
Composition émanante de l'hyperbole équilatère xy=k avec accord de vert et rouge
signed with the monogram 'GV' (lower right)
oil on canvas
20.1/8 x 29.5/8 in. (51.1 x 75.2 cm.)
Painted in 1929
Private collection, Zurich, by whom acquired directly from the artist, and thence by descent to the present owners.
Exh. cat, Georges Vantongerloo, A Travelling Retrospective Exhibition, Brussels, 1980 (illustrated p. 66).
Paris, Galerie 23, Cercle et Carré, 1930.
Zurich, Kunstsalon Wolfsberg, Produktion Paris 1930, Werke der Malerei und Plastik, October - November 1930 (illustrated fig. 82).
Brussels, Palais des Beaux Arts, L'art vivant en Europe, April - May 1931.
Basel, Kunsthalle, Konkrete Kunst, March - April 1944.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Antoine Pevsner, Georges Vantongerloo, Max Bill, October - November 1949.
Strasbourg, Musée d'art moderne, L'Art en Europe autour de 1925, May - September 1970.
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Georges Vantongerloo, April - May 1981, no. 57, p. 51 (illustrated).
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Die Sprache der Geometrie von Mondrian bis heute, March - May 1984, no. 185.
Cateau-Cambrésis, Musée Matisse, Georges Vantongerloo, Un pionnier de la sculpture moderne de la sphère à l'aurore boréale, October 2007 - March 2008, no. 57.
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Georges Vantongerloo, a Longing for Infinity, November 2009 - February 2010, pp. 62 & 192 (illustrated p. 63).
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Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas
Adrienne Everwijn-Dumas

Lot Essay

Georges Vantongerloo painted Composition émanante de l'hyperbole équilatère xy=k avec accord de vert et rouge in 1929, shortly after his move from Holland to Paris. This work, which has featured in a number of surveys of Vantongerloo's works, perfectly demonstrates his adoption of a rectilinear, grid-like form of painting that accords with his prominence in the Dutch group, De Stijl. At the same time, it may be no coincidence that he had moved to Paris, where his friend and fellow artist Piet Mondrian had made his home. Looking at Composition émanante de l'hyperbole équilatère xy=k avec accord de vert et rouge, there are clear parallels between Vantongerloo's vision and that of Mondrian; at the same time, there are evident differences. Vantongerloo has allowed a very different range of colour contrasts and relationships to vibrate through the composition: while the starkest areas of colour are the rectangles of opposing red and green, most of the other rectangles have subtle variants of white and grey which result in a powerful visual resonance.

Vantongerloo liked to invoke science and reason in his pictures, as is demonstrated by both the rigid, geometric composition and the title of Composition émanante de l'hyperbole équilatère xy=k avec accord de vert et rouge. Indeed, the following year, Vantongerloo would begin to ascribe even more elaborate algebraic formulae as titles for his works, equations which still cause confusion to this day as it remains unclear to what extent, if any, they actually reflect any underlying structure within his pictures. Vantongerloo himself was insistent that such strict disciplines as mathematics were merely props for his more profound vision, in which he had stripped back his artistic arsenal in order to explore its universal foundations through a highly modern idiom. Vantongerloo explained shortly before his move to Paris, 'To say that I wish to create a purely mathematical art is as absurd as to say that anyone creates by pure intuition. Mathematics is only the means, the instrument, used as one uses hammer and chisel to cut marble. Is it the hammer and chisel which create? No! It is the brain, thought, will and ability which cause the hammer to act [...] Mathematics helps us to understand the relations existing between geometric forms. The new art, being abstract in the positive sense of the word, is created by abstract forms and means' (quoted in G. Brett, ed., Georges Vantongerloo: A Longing for Infinity, exh. cat., Madrid, 2010, p. 207).

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