František Kupka (1871-1957)
František Kupka (1871-1957)

Autour d'un point

František Kupka (1871-1957)
Autour d'un point
signed 'Kupka' (lower right)
gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper
12 ¼ x 12 7/8 in. (31 x 32.7 cm.)
Executed circa 1920-1925
Stuttman Gallery, New York.
B.C. Holland Gallery, Chicago.
Robert Elkon Gallery, New York (after 1961).
Gallery Gertrude Stein, New York.
Murray and Ruth Gribin, Los Angeles (by 1971); sale, Sotheby's, London, 23 June 1993, lot 118.
Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles.
Private collection, Seattle.
David Tunkl Fine Art, Los Angeles.
Acquired from the above by the late owners, July 2001.
A.Z. Rudenstine, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, New York, 1985, p. 443 (illustrated, p. 444, fig. a).
University of California, Riverside, Art Gallery, The Cubist Circle, April-May 1971, p. 45, no. 10 (illustrated, p. 41; dated 1913).
Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego; The Oakland Museum and Seattle Art Museum, Color and Form, 1909-1914: The Origin and Evolution of Abstract Painting in Futurism, Orphism, Rayonnism, Synchromism and the Blue Rider, November 1971-May 1972, p. 95, no. 45 (illustrated in color, p. 71; dated 1913).

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Lot Essay

Pierre Brullé has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Autour d’un point is the most developed of a series of closely related works which culminated in an eponymous oil painting, now in the collection of the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. “In this early study, the brushwork and color as well as a slight blurring of the edges create a living, gently fluttering configuration that poses quietly on the surface,” explained Kathryn Allo. “In the later works in his Around a Point series, the edges have hardened. Each wing or seep has its counterpart in the earlier work, but the life is gone. The painting is hard and static, and movement has stopped” (exh. cat., op. cit., 1971).
Many of Kupka's paintings grew out of a complex abstraction of a simple motion. For the present work, the rotating arcs stemmed from the path of motion of a young girl playing with a ball. “The earliest studies show the genesis of the idea: a mixture of the lotus flower (with its symbolism of mystical evolution), cosmic space and the Disks of Newton. As the image evolved, it became increasingly legible as the unfurled petals of a flower. Thus symbolic, cosmic and biological significance are combined…Autour d’un point is the consummate expression of Kupka’s vision. The clear syncopated rhythms of dissected circles spinning around telescoping axes, the chromatic juxtapositions which recall the highlights and tonal shading of floral and faunal nature, intermittently broken or fused by zones of hot white light, and finally the bursting monumental scale of the image which swells to bursting beyond the frame, evoke a supreme cosmic vision” (M. Rowell, František Kupka: A Retrospective, exh. cat., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1975, pp. 79 and 268).

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