Vasarely, Victor

(redirected from Viktor Vásárhelyi)

Vasarely, Victor,

1908–97, French artist, one of the originators of op artop art
, movement that became prominent in the United States and Europe in the mid-1960s. Deriving from abstract expressionism, op art includes paintings concerned with surface kinetics. Colors were used to create visual effects, such as afterimages and trompe l'oeil.
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, b. Pécs, Hungary. Educated at art institutes in Budapest, Vasarely was profoundly impacted by BauhausBauhaus
, artists' collective and school of art and architecture in Germany (1919–33). The Bauhaus revolutionized art training by combining the teaching of classic arts with the study of crafts.
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 thought. He settled (1930) in Paris, where he worked as a commercial artist and graphic designer and later (1959) became a French citizen. Influenced by such modernist movements as constructivism, cubism, and surrealism, by the 1930s he had begun working with the elements of geometric abstraction. In the post–World War II years Vasarely worked out a new pictorial and spatial language, at first in black and white and soon in color. Exploiting optical illusions, he juxtaposed colors so that they appeared to vibrate, meanwhile developing a technique that made parts of his geometric images seem to bulge forward from their surface ground. Vasarely's paintings and graphic art reached the peak of their popularity and influence in the 1960s and 70s.