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František Kupka

/Works and biography

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Study for Amorpha, Warm Chromatism (Amorpha, Chromatique chaude)
and for Fugue in Two Colors (Fugue à deux couleurs), ca. 1910–11
Pastel on paper, 46.8 x 48.3 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 13
© František Kupka, by SIAE 2008


The present pastel study reveals an early stage in the formal evolution of two of Frantisek Kupka’s earliest purely abstract compositions. This pastel relates to a series of studies that followed a naturalistic painting of 1908–09 of his stepdaughter Andrée playing naked with a red-and-blue ball in the garden of their home. Kupka articulated the girl’s motion by depicting the continuous penetration of the atmosphere by the ball. A curving brown body shape guides the ball through the blue path of its trajectory. This action occurs on a light green background plane, which suggests the three-dimensional space of the garden. Kupka discerned a musical parallel to these abstract forms in the rhythmic patterns of the fugue. Kupka’s paintings of this period are not simple or formulaic abstractions from ultimate “sources” in nature, but are rather pictorial syntheses of the artist’s formal ideas.

credits: Hangar Design Group