Radiant Kupka: abstraction and vitality

On 30 April 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Frantisek Kupka (1871-1957), Study for "The Circular and Rectilinear," c. 1935, gouache, 30 x 30.7 cm, (11’,81” x 12’08”)
Result: €87,100

František Kupka (1871-1957) charted his own unique course in the galaxy of abstraction. His independent spirit and desire to avoid classifications and artistic groupings cost him dear. Art history somewhat sidelined him, instead focusing on Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian, who are presented as a creative triumvirate. Yet the magnificent retrospective currently devoted to him at the Grand Palais proves it, Kupka is an essential milestone on the road to abstraction. The Czech painter's work is a whirl of lines and curves, where the dynamic energy imbuing his elemental forms combines with a brilliant, colourful vibration. This gouache dating from around 1935 fetched €87,100: a result totally compatible with the artist's price index on the international market. The eye is drawn to the red discs made up of countless dots, a work in the same vein as the Centre Pompidou's large canvas, Autour d'un point (194.5 x 200 cm, 6’4.57” x 6’6.74”), which, in the 1920’s, served as the first synthesis of the painter's research into roundabout shapes.

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