Wonderful film footage exists of Victor Vasarely’s 1969 politically charged exhibit in Budapest. Almost 90,000 visitors showed up to see the work of Vasarely, who had left Hungary to live and work in Paris.
As the camera pans across the large gallery, the acrylic on wood piece, Dyok Positif, one of the works in our gallery, pops into the foreground.
The exhibit was put together at a time when Hungarian artists had to ask permission from the government to show their work, which could be destroyed if it didn’t meet government standards.
During the exhibition, Hungarian artist, Janos Major, carried a small sign in his pocket, reading, “Vasarely Go Home.” which he showed only to people he knew. In the film, Vasarely Go Home, artist and filmmaker, Andreas Fogarasi explores the political and cultural impact of the Vasarely exhibit and the meaning of Major’s protest.
Vasarely was called The Warhol of Europe, not because of the content of his work, but because of his enormous, international popularity.
Saying that Vasarely was way ahead on his time is an understatement. He was creating optical patterns in the 1930s, making him the grandfather of op-art. In Paris he studied science, optics and color and worked as a successful graphic designer.
Vilag and Pava, both done in 1978, are wonderful examples of Vasarely’s kinetic art and his interest in the nuances of color and geometrical patterns.
Vasarely was also interested in the order, patterns and regularity found in nature and music.
He continued exploring these themes and, in 1990, created a collage on paper, a unique work in the oeuvre of Vasarely, called Collage Vert, which is in our gallery.
Vasarely died in Paris in 1990, at the age of 90. He was survived by his sons, Andre and Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre followed in his father’s footsteps and created geometric paintings, signed Yvaral. Some examples of Yvaral’s work are also in our gallery.