Frantiešk Kupka (1871-1957)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
František Kupka (1871-1957)

Disques et arabesques

František Kupka (1871-1957)
Disques et arabesques
signed 'Kupka' (lower right); signed again 'Kupka' and with the studio stamp (on the reverse)
gouache and watercolour on paper
15 x 15 1/8 in. (38 x 39 cm.)
Executed circa 1922-1925
Redfern Gallery, Ltd., London.
Collection Poppe, Hamburg.
Carl Laszlo, Basel.
Galerie Von Barthe, Basel.
Private collection, France.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Sale room notice
Please note this work is signed 'Kupka' (lower right) and signed again 'Kupka' and with the studio stamp (on the reverse) and not as stated in the printed catalogue.

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Annie Wallington
Annie Wallington

Lot Essay

Pierre Brullé has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

‘Where do I really stand? I want to continue the journey I embarked upon when I freed myself from traditional painting, based on the use of natural forms… To define a painting means to see it as an appeal to read plastic forms. A painting achieves its end if those forms are presented as fully organic and logical identities… I tried to paint without nature. The result was chaos. I took refuge in elimination, getting rid of the trompe l’oeil, of the atmosphere, of every illusion of a third dimension. Afterwards I spent my time proving that it was possible to create freely. Geometric plans, correct defining of frontiers, nothing else. The break-up of painting made new forms and new configurations possible. Then came the lesson of ‘machinism’ and I was back where I started in 1912 with a new spirit and a new technology’ (F. Kupka, 'Contribution to the annual Abstraction-Création, 1932' quoted in L. Vachtová, Frank Kupka, London, 1968, p. 259).

Kupka, as his friend Marcel Duchamp was at pains to point out in his introduction to the Czech artist’s later exhibition in New York in 1951, has a significant claim, alongside the Russian painters Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich, to be regarded as a ‘founding father’ of modern painterly abstraction. Indeed, Kupka’s abstract paintings of 1911-1913 are arguably the very first complete, pictorial abstractions in the history of modern art. But, more importantly, it was the simple themes outlined in Kupka’s pioneering early abstractions that were to lay the foundation for almost all of his paintings that followed. From this moment onwards, Kupka would always produce predominantly abstract paintings in a series of ever-developing cycles or families of paintings. These groups of paintings, often based around specific themes, were to have no strict chronology, but were worked on until their theme became exhausted or it morphed into and gave rise to another.

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