Vasarely, Victor

orig. Viktor Vásárhelyi

born April 9, 1908, Pécs, Hung.
died March 15, 1997, Paris, France

Hungarian French painter.

Trained in Budapest in the Bauhaus tradition, he moved to Paris in 1930 and supported himself as a commercial artist. In the 1930s he was influenced by Constructivism, but by the 1940s he was painting animated surfaces of geometric forms and interacting colours. His style reached maturity in the mid 1950s and 1960s, with the use of more vibrant colours to increase the sense of movement through optical illusion, as in Sirius II (1954), and he became one of the leading figures of the Op art movement.

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▪ 1998

      , Hungarian-born French artist (b. April 9, 1908, Pecs, Austria-Hungary—d. March 15, 1997, Paris, France), was one of the leaders of the movement known as Op art—brightly coloured geometric abstraction that suggests movement through optical illusion—which reached its peak of popularity in the 1960s. He was considered the "grandfather" of the movement, and his works were exhibited internationally into the 1980s. Vasarely initially studied medicine in Budapest but in 1927 quit to concentrate on art, supporting himself by working as a clerk. In 1930 he moved to Paris and became a commercial graphic artist while continuing his studies. Vasarely began painting again in the mid-1940s and had his first one-man show in 1944 in Paris. By 1947 he was emphasizing geometric abstractions, and by the mid-1950s he had developed the style of visual trickery that exemplifies Op art. In the 1970s Vasarely established a foundation in Aix-en-Provence, France, and museums in Budapest, Pecs, New York City, and Gordes, France. He was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1970.

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▪ French artist
Hungarian  Viktor Vásárhelyi  
born , April 9, 1908, Pécs, Hung.
died March 15, 1997, Paris, France
 Hungarian-born French painter of geometric abstractions who became one of the leading figures of the Op art (q.v.) movement.

      Vasarely was trained as an artist in Budapest in the Bauhaus tradition. In 1930 he left Hungary and settled in Paris, where he initially supported himself as a commercial artist but continued to do his own work. During the 1930s he was influenced by Constructivism, but by the 1940s his characteristic style of painting animated surfaces of geometric forms and interacting colours had emerged. His style reached maturity in the mid-1950s and 1960s, when he began using brighter, more vibrant colours to further enhance the suggestion of movement through optical illusion. Representative works include “Sirius II” (1954), “Ondho” (1956–60, Museum of Modern Art, New York City), and “Arny-C” (1967–69).

      Vasarely became a naturalized French citizen in 1959. Much of his work is housed in the Vasarely Museum, at the Château de Gourdes, in Vaucluse département, southern France. In 1970 he established the Vasarely Foundation, which in 1976 took up quarters near Aix-en-Provence in a building that he designed.

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Universalium. 2010.

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