1906-1997 – Founder and main proponent of Op Art
Hungarian-born Victor Vasarely dominated the art scene of the 1970s and 1980s with his play of colour and form in the optical conception of space.
Victor Vasarely created a new art movement which is called Op Art (optical art). It is characterised by refined spatial suggestions and the play with geometric forms. In a unique way, he combined patterns and colour to create powerful visual effects, that never ceased to amaze.
Vasarely received his artistic training at the Budapest art school "Mühely" (lit. "Workshop"). This school taught above all the ideas of the Bauhaus. Thus, Vasarely first worked as a graphic artist after moving to Paris in 1930, since the basic idea of the Bauhaus was to integrate art into everyday life.
Based on the teachings of the Bauhaus masters Klee and Kandinsky, Vasarely became intensively involved with the geometric language of form. From 1947 onwards, he developed an independent geometric abstraction, whose variations lead to optical pictorial patterns with kinetic effects. The artist arranged geometric patterns in bright colours in a way that the impression of movement is given to the human eye.
Vasarely's sophisticated way of suggesting space, his play with squares, rhombuses, ellipses, trapezoids and stripe effects were based on the idea of not viewing form and colour separately, but as a unity, a "unités plastiques". He found out that calm abstract compositions could be translated into vibrant and iridescent patterns by repeating the individual geometric elements several times, rotating or mirroring them by a few degrees. A high degree of uniformity and brilliant optical effect characterises these works.
Vasarely is thus considered one of the founders and main protagonists of Op Art. At this point, Vasarely had already quit his profession as a graphic artist and earned his living entirely from art. Regular participation in the documenta and several museum exhibitions devoted entirely to Vasarely's work followed.
Today, Vasarely is regarded as an artist whose art has had a significant influence on our way of seeing. His designs are extremely popular and have been used in a wide variety of fields: from architecture to fabric design. One of his most famous works is still encountered almost daily in everyday life: the diamond logo designed in 1972 for Renault.