Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969)
Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED SWISS COLLECTION
Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969)

Rouge et bleu (Red and Blue)

Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969)
Rouge et bleu (Red and Blue)
signed 'Serge Poliakoff' (lower right)
oil on canvas
36 ¼ x 28 ½in. (92 x 72.5cm.)
Painted in 1961
Galerie Im Erker, St. Gallen.
Max Kreis Collection, Rebstein (acquired from the above in 1962).
Private Collection, Zurich (acquired from the above in 1989).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
A. Poliakoff, Serge Poliakoff, Catalogue Raisonné: 1959-1962, vol. III, Munich 2011, no. 61-30 (illustrated in colour, p. 240).
St. Gallen, Galerie Im Erker, Serge Poliakoff, 1962, no. 27 (illustrated, p. 2).
St. Gallen, Kunstmuseum, Serge Poliakoff, 1966, no. 64.
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Lot Essay

Created in 1961 at the height of the artist’s career and during a period of international recognition, Rouge et bleu (Red and Blue) is a masterful example of Serge Poliakoff’s mature aesthetic. Formed of two interlocking geometries, a burning dusky red hangs over an urban blue, the painting swells lyrically in a harmonious equilibrium. Between 1957 and 1961, Poliakoff began reducing his compositions to two or three colours, and the simplified composition of Rouge et bleu represents a transitional moment in Poliakoff’s oeuvre, as he moved away from his multicoloured, interlocking configurations towards the monochromatic canvases that would appear the following year. Born in Moscow, Poliakoff fled Russia after the 1917 revolution, eventually settling in Paris where he studied painting with Othon Friesz, a former Fauvist who perhaps inspired the artist’s bourgeoning interest in colour’s materiality. While in Paris, Poliakoff befriended Wassily Kandinsky and Robert and Sonia Delaunay; echoes of the Delaunays’ interconnected chromatic tapestries can be seen in Rouge et bleu. By the 1950s, Poliakoff had ceased to use outlines in his paintings, preferring instead to allow his colours to converge and deviate from one another. Although such geometric and chromatic investigations underpinned his practice, Poliakoff nevertheless encouraged the intervention of his viewer’s subjectivity, believing that ‘a form should be listened to when it is seen’ (S. Poliakoff, quoted in Polikakoff , exh. cat., Galerie Melki, Paris, 1975, p. 13). In the graceful fluidity of Rouge et bleu, the tonalities alone conjure the painting’s space, a pictorial depth that can be both felt and observed.

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