Back to Press Wednesday April 30, 2014

Paddle8 partners with the Fondation Vasarely to present online auction of Op-Art pioneer Victor Vasarely’s works

Proceeds support the activities and restoration of the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence

Paddle8 is honored to partner with the Fondation Vasarely to present an online auction of iconic works by Victor Vasarely (1906–1997), the father of the Op-Art movement. Best known for kaleidoscopic, geometric abstractions that blur the distinction between image and picture plane, Vasarely’s work has profoundly influenced contemporary visual culture, impacting fashion, architecture, graphic design, and technology, as well as future generations of artists. The auction will feature over 80 prints and two paintings, with bidding available at Paddle8.com from May 3 through May 27.

Proceeds from the auction will support the restoration and activities of the Fondation Vasarely, located in Aix-en-Provence on the grounds of Paul Cezanne’s country home, Jas de Bouffan. Designed by Vasarely, the Fondation harmoniously blends art and architecture, including a building made of sixteen hexagons—monumental black and white enameled elements in anodized aluminum—that translate the principles of Vasarely’s art into design. In the past two years, the Fondation has embarked on restoration efforts to return the building and galleries to its intended state, with the goal of creating a space for new audiences to learn about Vasarely’s work and vision.

The Paddle8 sale coincides with a resurgence of international interest in Vasarely’s work, including an exhibition of masterworks by Vasarely at Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery in New York. Sotheby’s has an ongoing relationship with the Fondation Vasarely and has been instrumental in organizing both the Paddle8 sale and in raising awareness of Vasarely’s work. Vasarely is also currently the subject of a traveling retrospective that premiered at the Musee d'Ixelles, Brussels, is currently on view at the Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, and will travel to the Espoo Museum of Modern Art in Finland.

The Paddle8 auction allows collectors to acquire iconic Vasarely works at an accessible price point, with historical prints and editions estimated between €500 and €1000, and two original paintings, valued at €7,000–€10,000 and €25,000–€35,000.

“We are delighted to partner with Paddle8 to present a special auction drawn from our own collection, allowing collectors around the world to acquire a piece of my grandfather’s extraordinary work,” said Pierre Vasarely, the grandson of Victor Vasarely and the president of the Fondation Vasarely since 2009. “The proceeds from this sale will provide a vital jumpstart to the fundraising efforts of the Fondation Vasarely.”

Auction highlights include:

Letz, 1979. Acrylic on canvas, 115 x 100 cm. Estimate: €25,000–€35,000.
A quintessential example of Vasarely’s paintings, created on a hexagonal panel and featuring colors and patterns to yield what the artist termed “a perpetual mobile of optical illusion”.

Paris, 1985. Oil on canvas, 66 x 36 cm. Estimate: €7,000–€10,000.
A stunning painting that layers the abstracted geometry of the Eiffel Tower over the Jardin des Tuileries and Paris’s iconic buildings, bordered with the tricolore of the French flag.

Horn, 1982. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 32 cm. Estimate: €450–€650.
A black-and-white screenprint that expands the ideas that Vasarely introduced through his “kinetic pictures in depth”, first created in the 1950s. The grids and patterns produce a fluctuating sensation, as the picture plane appears to move.

Mima Sol 2, 1981. Screenprint in colors, 61 x 61 cm. Estimate: €500–€700.
A vibrant example from Vasarely’s “Vega” period, in which the swelling caused by the deformation of elements results in forms that appear to bulge out from the piece and create spectacular volumes.

Bidding is available from May 3 to 27 at paddle8.com/auction/vasarely.

About Victor Vasarely

Victor Vasarely (French, 1906–1997) is the founding father of the Op-Art movement in Europe. His brightly colored optical patterns introduced a visually kinetic aspect to the traditionally flat paintings of his generation. Born in Pécs, Hungary, Vasarely studied graphic art and typographical design at Mühely, Sandor Bortnyik's private art school, widely recognized as Budapest's center of Bauhaus studies. In 1930, Vasarely left Hungary and settled in Paris, where he became a graphic designer and creative consultant for advertising agencies such as Havas. During the next two decades, Vasarely experimented with styles from Cubism to Surrealism before arriving at his own signature style in the 1950s. He showed at the Galerie Denise René alongside Calder, Duchamp, Man Ray, Mondrian, Soto, and Tinguely. In 1965, Vasarely was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s landmark exhibition “The Responsive Eye”—the most important survey of Op Art—and invited to lecture at New York University. In 1970, Vasarely opened his first dedicated museum, with over 500 works in a Renaissance château in Gordes (closed in 1996). He also created the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence, a center housed in a distinct structure specially designed and financed by Vasarely, inaugurated in 1976. In 1982, a group of 154 specially-created serigraphs by Vasarely were taken into space by the cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chrétien on board the French-Soviet spacecraft Salyut 7; the works were later sold for the benefit of UNESCO.

About Fondation Vasarely

The Fondation Vasarely, located in Aix-en-Provence, was created by Op Art pioneer Victor Vasarely in 1976 as a center to promote his ideas of “art for all” and “the city of tomorrow”. The building—a series of sixteen connecting hexagons showcasing an exceptional collection of 44 monumental works by Vasarely —was designed and financed by the artist and implemented by architects Jean Sonnier, Dominique Ronsseray, and Claude Pradel-Lebar. Construction began in 1973, and the building was inaugurated in 1976 by Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister of France. Today, the foundation also hosts temporary exhibitions, talks, lectures, concerts, and educational programs to promote the artist’s work and legacy.

Beginning in 1981, the Fondation fell into disrepair; neglected by its trustees, the building and its collection deteriorated. Since 2011, the Fondation has been overseen by Pierre Vasarely, the artist’s grandson and the holder of his moral right and universal legatee, and has undertaken a vast program of renovation to restore Vasarely’s works and improve visitors’ facilities. In 2013, only forty years after the first stone was laid, the building was classified as a “Monument Historique.”

About Paddle8

Paddle8 is an online auction house, connecting buyers and sellers of fine art and collectibles across the Internet. Paddle8 presents two types of auctions: curated auctions of art and collectibles under $100,000, and benefit auctions in collaboration with non-profits. To date, Paddle8 has collaborated with over 200 non-profit organizations worldwide to present their benefit auctions online, dramatically expanding the audience of supporters and fundraising results for each non-profit partner. The company was founded in 2011 by Alexander Gilkes, an auctioneer and LVMH veteran, and Aditya Julka, a Harvard Business School MBA and serial entrepreneur. Paddle8 is funded by VC firm Founder Collective (past investments include Uber, Vimeo, Buzzfeed), the investment group Mousse Partners (past investments include Paperless Post, Warby Parker, Bonobos), artist Damien Hirst, art dealer Jay Jopling; Alexander von Furstenberg, and Matthew Mellon.

For more information, please contact Sarah Goulet, press@paddle8.com

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