November 17, 2020 12:00 EST

Modern & Contemporary Art

 
Lot 35
 
Lot 35 - Carlos Cruz-Diez (Venezuelan, 1923-2019)

35

Carlos Cruz-Diez (Venezuelan, 1923-2019)
Physichromie no. 494

Signed, titled and dated January 1970 verso, acrylic on cardboard, plastic strips and wood.
23 1/2 x 94 7/8 in. (59.7 x 241cm)

Provenance: Denise René Gallery, New York.
Property from a Private Corporate Art Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

NOTE:
This lot is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Carlos Cruz Delgado and dated September 8, 2020.

One of the founders of the Kinetic Art movement in Venezuela, Carlos Cruz-Diez was born in 1923 and attended Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas in Caracas before moving to Paris in 1960. He began his artistic career working in a Modernist representational style, but quickly felt frustrated at his efforts. Trying to capture the difficult circumstances Venezuelans experienced every day, he later described his initial efforts thus: "I placed myself to paint the misery I was witnessing, thinking that with a painting I could modify a social condition - I failed." [1] He moved away from focusing on expression and meaning-making through painting and began a lifelong project in creating a direct experience of color.

Physichromie no. 494 belongs to a series of works that became a career-long preoccupation for Cruz-Diez, who died last year at the age of 95. His most notable endeavor, the Physichromie works occupied the artist from 1959 to 2011 and developed through many stages, incorporating different theories and media towards the artist's experiments. The constructions generally employed a moiré effect, using overlapping patterns to create a kind of visual interference. Cruz-Diez constructed the works by forming lines of color on cardboard, wood or acetate, sometimes bolting several panels together to get the desired effect. For the artist: "a Physichromie is a support for an event. It cannot be enjoyed in the same way we might enjoy a traditional painting; it demands active involvement rather than passive contemplation. There is no place for symbolic interpretations because it is its own reference." [2] Part of the fourth stage of the series, Physichromie no. 494 shimmers and comes alive with light, dynamically changing with every viewing, depending on ambient light and the viewer's angle, creating a new, direct experience of color; a luminous example of the works for which Cruz-Diez is best known.

[1] Bianca Chu and Francisco Arevalo, "An Interview with Carlos Cruz-Diez: Carlos Cruz-Diez, A Lifetime Making Energetic, Visionary Art," April 27, 2018, https://www.sothebys.com/content/sothebys/cn/news-video/blogs/all-blogs/contemporary/2018/03/an-interview-with-carlos-cruz-diez.html

[2] Carlos Cruz-Diez, "Light and Movement," in Color in Space and Time: Cruz-Diez, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001, p. 116.

Sold for $250,000
Estimated at $150,000 - $250,000


 

Signed, titled and dated January 1970 verso, acrylic on cardboard, plastic strips and wood.
23 1/2 x 94 7/8 in. (59.7 x 241cm)

Provenance: Denise René Gallery, New York.
Property from a Private Corporate Art Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

NOTE:
This lot is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Carlos Cruz Delgado and dated September 8, 2020.

One of the founders of the Kinetic Art movement in Venezuela, Carlos Cruz-Diez was born in 1923 and attended Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas in Caracas before moving to Paris in 1960. He began his artistic career working in a Modernist representational style, but quickly felt frustrated at his efforts. Trying to capture the difficult circumstances Venezuelans experienced every day, he later described his initial efforts thus: "I placed myself to paint the misery I was witnessing, thinking that with a painting I could modify a social condition - I failed." [1] He moved away from focusing on expression and meaning-making through painting and began a lifelong project in creating a direct experience of color.

Physichromie no. 494 belongs to a series of works that became a career-long preoccupation for Cruz-Diez, who died last year at the age of 95. His most notable endeavor, the Physichromie works occupied the artist from 1959 to 2011 and developed through many stages, incorporating different theories and media towards the artist's experiments. The constructions generally employed a moiré effect, using overlapping patterns to create a kind of visual interference. Cruz-Diez constructed the works by forming lines of color on cardboard, wood or acetate, sometimes bolting several panels together to get the desired effect. For the artist: "a Physichromie is a support for an event. It cannot be enjoyed in the same way we might enjoy a traditional painting; it demands active involvement rather than passive contemplation. There is no place for symbolic interpretations because it is its own reference." [2] Part of the fourth stage of the series, Physichromie no. 494 shimmers and comes alive with light, dynamically changing with every viewing, depending on ambient light and the viewer's angle, creating a new, direct experience of color; a luminous example of the works for which Cruz-Diez is best known.

[1] Bianca Chu and Francisco Arevalo, "An Interview with Carlos Cruz-Diez: Carlos Cruz-Diez, A Lifetime Making Energetic, Visionary Art," April 27, 2018, https://www.sothebys.com/content/sothebys/cn/news-video/blogs/all-blogs/contemporary/2018/03/an-interview-with-carlos-cruz-diez.html

[2] Carlos Cruz-Diez, "Light and Movement," in Color in Space and Time: Cruz-Diez, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001, p. 116.

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