Victor Vasarely (1906-1997)
signed 'vasarely' (lower center); signed again twice, titled and dated 'VASARELY "LANG" 1979' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
80 ¾ x 80 ¾ in. (205.1 x 205.1 cm.)
Painted in 1979.
Lille, La Foundation Demeures Du Nord, Vasarely: Parcours 1930-1980, 2004.
London, Robert Sandelson Gallery, Victor Vasarely: Black & White, October-December 2005, pp. 44-45 (illustrated).
Sale room notice
Please note this work is signed 'vasarely' (lower center); signed again twice, titled and dated 'VASARELY "LANG" 1979' (on the reverse).

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan

Lot Essay

The authenticity of the present work has been confirmed by Pierre Vasarely, President of the Fondation Vasarely, universal legatee and the moral right holder of Victor Vasarely. This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné de l’Oeuvre Peint de Victor Vasarely, which is currently being compiled by the Fondation Vasarely, Aix-en-Provence. 

In 1929, while enrolled in Sándor Bortnyik’s ‘Mühely’ (‘Studio’) and at the onset of technicolor, Victor Vasarely became conversely drawn to the binary simplicity of black and white as a springboard for his optical investigations. “I am opting for a world-view according to which ‘good and evil,’ ‘beautiful and ugly’ and ‘physical and psychological’ are inseparable, complimentary opposites, two sides of the same coin,” he explained. “Therefore black and white means to transmit and propagate messages more effectively, to inform, to give” (V. Vasarely, Notes Brutes, New York 1979). His black-and-white painting Zebra, created in the 1930s, is considered by many to be the origin of Op Art.

Lang follows in the footsteps of that masterpiece: painted four decades thereafter, it maintains a black-and-white palette as the foundation of its composition. Four quadrants present the same image in positive and negative, compounding the optical allusion that is at the crux of Op Art. From a distance, the interlocking patterns dissolve, liquefying the image into a dizzying abstract blur.

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