Victor Vasarely (French/Hungarian, 1997)

Victor Vasarely (French/Hungarian, 1906–1997) is a preeminent painter known as the father of the Op Art movement. Vasarely studied medicine at the Budapest University in his early 20s before abandoning his medical studies to go to the Muhely Academy, the center of the Bauhaus movement in Budapest. While studying there, he was influenced by the work of color theorist and artist Josef Albers (American/German, 1888-1976), as well as the Constructivist methods promoted by artists such as Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944). While Vasarely’s earlier work was concerned more with color theory, during the 1950s and 1960s his work became more focused on the optical potential of the two-dimensional surface. He began to use complex and colorful patterns to actively engage the viewer’s eye, and to convey a sense of kinetic energy across the two-dimensional surface. Vasarely’s work was heavily influenced by his time spent at Breton Beach of Belle Isle in France, which also prompted the creation of his prominent Belle Isle series. This series displays an intrinsic concern with the internal geometry present in the natural world, a motif that Vasarely continued to explore extensively throughout his entire body of work. His works present color, form, and pattern as a single interconnected element, a concept that was critical to the foundation of the Op Art movement and the production of his more mature works.


Born April 9 in Pécs, Hungary
Began artistic training at private drawing school in Budapest.
Joins the training center 'Mühely' (German 'workshop') which was run by Sándor Bortnyik and taught the ideas of the Bauhaus
Studies art at the Podolini-Volkmann Academy in Budapest.
Enrols at Alexander Bortnyik’s Mühely Academy, widely recognised as the centre of Bauhaus studies in Budapest.
Moves to Paris and becomes successful as a graphic designer
Moves to Paris, where he works as a graphic artist for various agencies, including Havas, and for the renowned printer Draeger. Begins his Zebra studies and engages in his first optical experiments. Marries Claire Spinner in 1931. Their first child André is born the same year. A second son, Jean-Pierre, is born in 1934.
Assembles an important body of graphic works , developing the aesthetic foundations for his plastic language. In 1944, inaugurates the Galerie Denise René in Paris with a solo-exhibition, and in 1945, participates for the first time in the Salon des Surindépendants.
Develops understanding that geometric forms could evoke a sensory perception conveying new ideas of space, matter and energy.
Moves decidedly towards Constructivist and geometric abstract art, inspired by artists such as Malevitch, Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius. His vacations at Gordes and Belle-Isle from 1947 onwards play an important role in inspiring this shift away from figurative representation. Publishes his first edition of prints. Exhibits at the Salon des Surindépendants (1946), the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (1947) and Galerie Denis René in Paris (1948).
Works predominantly in black and white. Develops and defines the visual elements of Op Art, the movement with which his name has become inextricably linked. In 1955 publishes his Yellow Manifesto and receives the Critics Award in Brussels and the Gold Medal at the Milan Triennial. Completes a series of murals for the University of Caracas in Venezuela, as well as several architectural integrations such as Hommage à Malevitch. Participates in numerous exhibitions such as Le Mouvement at the Galerie Denise René (1955), 50 Ans d’Art Moderne at the Palais International des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1958), and Inaugural Selection at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (1959). Has solo exhibitions at the Buenos Aires and Caracas museums of art (1958/59) and at Galerie Der Spiegel in Cologne (1959).
Receives the International Guggenheim Award in New York (1964), the Grand Prix de la Gravure in Ljubljana in Slovenia (1965) as well as the Grand Prize at the VIII Art Biennale of São Paolo (1965). Also awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in Paris (1965). Participates in many group exhibitions, incuding Documenta III in Kassel, Germany (1964) and, most notably, The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1965). Also has numerous solo exhibitions, including shows at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (1963), the Pace Gallery in New York (1964), the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1965) and the Kunsthalle in Bern in Switzerland (1965).
Exhibits work regularly at the documenta in Kassel
Completes several architectural projects, including one for the French pavilion at the World Expo in Montreal (1967). Also completes two films Les Multiples and Précinetisme. Interviews of the artist by Jean-Louis Ferrier are published. Awarded Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur (1970). Numerous group exhibitions, among them Lumière et Mouvement at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville in Paris (1967) and 10 Ans d’Art vivant, 1955-65 at the Fondation Maeght (1968) in Saint Paul-de-Vence in France, as well as solo exhibitions at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York (1966 and 1968), Galerie Denise René in Paris (1969) and the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest (1969).
Inauguration of the Vasarely Museum in Gordes in France (1971). Publishes the four volumes of Plasti-cité and receives the International Art Book Award for two of the volumes in 1971 and 1975. Solo exhibitions at the Galerie Denise René (1972) and Sidney Jannis Gallery (1972). Designs the set for the Racine Opera Bérenice, performed in Hungary.
Inauguration of the Vasarely Foundation in Aix-en-Provence (1976) and the Vasarely Museum in his hometown of Pécs (1978). Solo exhibitions at the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art (1977) and the Phoenix Art Museum (1979). Creates 154 prints that are transported into space aboard the Soyuz 7 by a French-Soviet team of cosmonauts .
Inauguration of second museum in Zichy Palace in Budapest
Named Honorary Citizen of the City of New York and delivers a series of lectures in the United States. In France, Vasarely is named Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1985) and promoted to the rank of Grand Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite in France (1990). Inauguration of the Vasarely Museum at the Zichy Palace in Budapest (1987).
Dies March 15 in Paris.


Dynamo Un Siecle De Lumiere Et De Mouvement Dans L’art 1913-2013 - Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris
Frühjahr - Sommer - 2013 Kunst aus dem 20. Jahrhundert - Galerie Neher GmbH & Co. KG, Essen
Vibrations - Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Optical Spaces - Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, Dallas, TX
Victor Vasarely - Galerie Lahumière, Paris
Victor Vasarely - une rétrospective 1948 - 1975 - Galerie Lahumière, Paris
Viktor Vazareli - Grafike i objekti - Museum Of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad
Victor Vasarely - Mathematikum e.V., Gießen
Imagen Inestable - Galería Animal, Santiago
Linie, Art Forum Ute Barth, Zurich
Twin Bill, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK
The Expanded Eye, Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland
The Kinetic Eye: Optical and Kinetic Art, 1950-1975, 13 May – 25 September, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg, France
Victor Vasarely in black and white, Robert Sandelson, London, UK
Victor Vasarely: Black and White paintings from 1950s, 16 October – 13 November 2004, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY
Victor Vasarely: Founder of Op Art, Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL
Victor Vasarely – Parcours 1930-1980, La Fondation Demeures du Nord, Lille
Victor Vasarely, Robert Sandelson, London
Vasarely Inconnu, Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp
Vasarely, Fundacion Juan March, Madrid, Spain
Vasarely – Geometrie, Abstraktion, Rhythmus. Die Fünfziger Jahre, Ulmer Museum, Ulm
Vasarely – Erfinder der Op-Art, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, Kunstverein Wolfsburg and Joseph Albers Museum, Bottrop
Vasarely: Hommages, Musée Communal des Beaux-Arts, Charleroi and Fondation Vasarely, Aix-en-Provence
Victor Vasarely – 50 Years of Creation, Musée Olympique, Lausanne
Le Mouvement, Fondation Maeght, St-Paul-de-Vence
Retrospective, Kunstforum Vienna, Austria
Vasarely, Esterhazy Castle, Eisenstadt
Victor Vasarely, Okresné Museum, Prague
Vasarely, National Museum of Fine Arts, Algiers
Galerie der Stadt Esslingen am Neckar, Germany
The Art Of Victor Vasarely, Midland Center of Arts, Midland, Michigan
The Optic Art of Vasarely, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas
Cultural Centre, Modena, Italy
Exposition de sérigraphies et de multiples, Philadelphia Art Museum
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
Galerie Denise René, Paris
From Renoir to Vasarely, Salon d’Automne, Grand-Palais, Paris
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary
Folklore Planétaire, Galerie Denis René, Paris
Vasarely, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
10 Ans d’Art Vivant, 1955-65, Fondation Maeght, St Paul-de-Vence, France
Lumière et Mouvement, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris
Multiples, Galerie Denise René, Paris
Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
The Responsive Eye, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Kunsthalle, Berne, Switzerland
Documenta III, Kassel, Germany
Vasarely et l’Art Social, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris
Pace Gallery, New York
L'Unite Plastique, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris
Taft Museum, Cincinatti
Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne
Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas
Inaugural Selection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
50 Ans d’Art Moderne, Palais International des Beaux-Arts,Brussels
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires
Palais de Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles; APIAW, Liege
Le Mouvement, Galerie Denise René, Paris
Galerie Der Spiegel, Cologne
Galerie Arne Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhague
Tendences de l’Art Abstrait, Galerie Denise René, Paris
Galerie Denise René, Paris
Galerie Kovacs Akos, Budapest