Victor Varsely

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Internationally recognized as one of the most important artists of the 20th century; he is the acknowledged leader of the Op Art movement, and his innovations in color and optical illusion have had a strong influence on many modern artists. Victor de Vasarely was born in Pécs, Hungary, on April 9, 1908. As a young man he attended the Academy of Painting in Budapest (1925-1927) and then studied under Alexander Bortnyik at the Mühely, also known as the Bauhaus School of Budapest (1929-1930). The Bauhaus schools were noted for approaches to architecture and graphic design that were compatible with machine production of high quality and with well-designed objects and environments. At the Mühely, Vasarely became acquainted with the formal and geometrical styles of Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky and with William Ostwald's theory of color scales. In 1930, Vasarely moved to Paris, and after that remained a resident of France. He married Claire Spinner; they had two sons. In the 1930s Vasarely was a graphic designer and a poster artist who frequently combined geometric pattern and organic representational images. His Study of Matter M.C. (1936) juxtaposed objects of varying scales--a zebra, a piece of hound's-tooth patterned fabric, a black glove --with a richly colored background of rhomboids. The illogic of bringing together diverse objects of widely varying size and scale brings to mind similar explorations of Surrealist art. Vasarely came to feel that color and form were linked in that each color and each form should share the same identity. He viewed his abstract art as composed of pure color-form which by its very abstractness signified the world through the limitless associations and responses of the viewer. In 1947, Vasarely discovered his place in abstract art. Influenced by his experiences at Breton Beach of Belle Isle, he concluded that "internal geometry" could be seen below the surface of the entire world. He conceived that form and color are...
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