1906 or 1908-1997
Nationality: 
French (born in Hungary)
Biography: 

Victor Vasarely began studying art in 1927 while he was pursuing a medical degree. Art became his passion, but science continued to play an important role in his art. Widely considered a founder of the Op Art movement, Vasarely explored the effects of shape and color in his work. In 1928-29, he studied at the Mühely Academy, a Bauhaus-type of school in Budapest, with Alexander Bortnyik. Bortnyik had studied art at the Bauhaus under Josef Albers, whom Vasarely admired along with László Moholy-Nagy, who also taught at the Bauhaus.

In the 1950s and 60s, Vasarely created the Alphabet Plastique, based on color and geometry. He felt that these were universal units that everyone could understand, and all that an artist needed to convey his or her ideas. He said, “[P]ure form and pure color can signify the world.”* His work was part of the Responsive Eye exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965, which introduced audiences to artists analyzing the effects of color and line in their work. The official website of the artist created by his daughter-in-law Michèle Vasarely includes his notes that reveal his evolving understanding of color and experimentation with it. The ideals of that Vasarely learned at the Budapest Bauhaus, specifically the opportunities to insert art into objects and spaces that we interact with on a daily basis, remained important to him throughout his career. He said, “Painting is but a medium, the ultimate goal is to search, to define, to integrate the plastic phenomenon into everyday life.”*

*Artist Statements, Vasarely: The Official Artist Website, http://www.vasarely.com/site/site.htm

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