Overlapping and interlinking, the panes of colour that comprise Poliakoff's Bleu rouge noir perfectly encapsulate his interest in form, in composition, and in visual harmony. While he had already been painting abstract pictures in the late 1930s, it was only in the Post-War years that his intensely honed sense of aesthetics came into its own, resulting in a unique and poetic colourism. Here, the artist's interest in artists as varied as Cézanne, Delaunay and the icon painters of his native Russia mingled, producing works made all the more absorbing through their vortex-like swirls of colour fields. These works, in their texture and in their judicious combinations of colours, take as their subject matter the act of painting itself, as well as the subject of colour.
These influences can be discerned in Bleu rouge noir both in terms of composition and in terms of the painting's actual function. For while the intensely honed structure and solidity of this picture appear reminiscent of Cézanne's still life paintings, Bleu rouge noir's purpose as a source of contemplation, as an aesthetic focal point for our attention, owes more to the icons of the Russian Orthodox church. It is with their codified, almost abstracted structure and use of colour that Bleu rouge noir shares its affinities. This picture is filled with a swirling sense of its own pictorial autonomy, the colours and oils placed together in order to celebrate themselves and each other, filling the work with a sense of life, light, movement and pure colour.