Vasarely Before the OP

of 17/06/23 to 15/10/23


European abstraction, 1945-1955

An exhibition in partnership with the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou

From 17 June to 15 October 2023


The Vasarely Foundation continues its partnership with the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne-Centre de création industrielle for the 4th consecutive year, with the summer exhibition “Vasarely avant l’Op, une abstraction européenne, 1945-1955”. From June 17 to October 15, 2023, a selection of 35 major works on loan from the Paris museum, the Musée départemental Matisse, the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, the Hartung-Bergman Foundation, the Marta Pan Foundation, the Denise René Gallery and private collections will be presented in Aix-en-Provence, at the Vasarely Foundation for four months.

Exhibition with works by Agam, Jean-Michel Atlan, André Bloc, Simone Boisecq, Robert Breer, Geneviève Claisse, Jean Dewasne, Jean Deyrolle, Cesar Domela, Etienne Gilioli, Hans Hartung, Auguste Herbin, Robert Jacobsen, Berto Lardera, Alberto Magnelli, Richard Mortensen, Pablo Palazuelo, Marta Pan, Ideo Pantaleoni, Alicia Penalba, Edgar Pillet, Serge Poliakoff, Gérard Schneider, Pierre Soulages, Victor Vasarely and Nicolaas Warb.

Curator of the exhibition

Michel Gauthier


Included in the entrance fee

Average duration



French, English

Victor Vasarely, Ninive 1949-1952 ©photo : Fabrice Lepeltier

Geneviève CLAISSE, Abstract composition – 1954 – Oil on canvas – 65 x 92 cm Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne /Centre de création industrielle © Adagp, Paris, 2023 © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Philippe Migeat/Dist. RMN-GP

Vasarely and post-war abstraction

In the aftermath of the war, Victor Vasarely, who had been successful in advertising graphics since his arrival in France in 1930, decided to become a full-fledged artist. In the summer of 1944, in the exhibition “Vasarely ˗ dessins et compositions graphiques”, at the Denise René gallery, newly created at his instigation, he showed again the works whose painting he was to produce during the following years, and with which he was to take his place fully in the art world, seemed to put in abeyance the achievements. After having gone wrong with a kind of surrealism marked by the horrors of war and camps, Vasarely turned to an abstraction embodied in three main series, Belle-Isle, Gordes-Cristal and Denfert, which could nevertheless be combined, even if the artist cast a critical eye on these hybridisations which make the concept lose its purity by giving in to a guilty formal hedonism. How should we view these paintings which quickly assured Vasarely a place of choice on the Parisian scene, before the optic turn in his art?

Thanks to the sponsors of the exhibition

Agence Y2, Artprice. Côtes de Provence (Syndicat des Vins), Labio, Plein Sud, Sully Patrimoine, Vins d’Aix-en-Provence

Couverture catalogue

Catalogue of the exhibition

60 pages in French / Fage éditions
Price: 15€