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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Paris
    Collection of Jean Boghici, Rio de Janeiro
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in Caracas in 1923, Carlos Cruz-Diez is a protagonist figure of the Kinetic and Op Art movements. Along with his contemporaries, Jesús Rafael Soto and Alejandro Otero, he is considered one of Venezuela’s modernist masters. As a young, emerging artist he worked in advertising and photography where he gained experience in the application of color and the use of illustration. During those years he began to develop a fascination for geometric abstraction, chromatic structures, and the perception of color: an interest that would mark his focus on augmenting the viewer’s physical interaction with the work, rather than an appreciation that requires knowledge of its cultural context. In the 1950’s, Cruz-Diez made several trips to Europe, where he began to explore Constructivism. In 1960 he permanently moved to Paris to continue pursuing his artistic career and studies and where his experiments with color would reach their full kinetic potential.

    Created in 1977, the present lot represents part of a more extensive artistic investigation called Physichromies. Initiated in 1959 and concluding in 2011, Physichromies were the result Cruz-Diez’ research into color theory. The present lot is part of the fifth series of Physichromie works: The Diagonals. This composition is based on geometric patterns and repetition, and is a prime example of the artist’s refined and complex production. By projecting vibrant colors on a metal support, Cruz-Diez creates an optical experience that provokes a relationship between the art work and the spectator: the range of tones mix in the field of vision depending on the activity of the light and the viewer’s gaze and position. According to the Carlos Cruz-Diez Foundation, Physichromies are “a space where colored screens interact to create new chromatic ranges and permeate the space between the vertical sheets that cover the entire work” (Cruz-Diez Foundation, “Physichromie,”Accessed October 1, 2015). Once light mixes with the pigments on the plane, the surface is transformed, the atmosphere is enriched, and a visual phenomenon of different dimensions is created.

  • Artist Biography

    Carlos Cruz-Diez

    Venezuelan • 1923 - 2019

    Carlos Cruz-Diez moved from his native Caracas to Paris in 1955, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. He was a major protagonist in the field of kinetic and Op Art, a movement based on "an awareness of the instability of reality."

    Inspired by such artists as Georges Seurat and Josef Albers, his work focuses on the kinetic energy of color and its existence as an autonomous and evolving reality, independent from form or structure. Much of his work, in particular his Physichromie series, is created by plotting lines of contrasting color alongside each other, creating an illusion of movement as the viewer's position relative to the artwork shifts.

    View More Works


Physichromie No. 951

acrylic and plastic elements on panel with metal backing
20 x 30 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 76.2 x 3.8 cm)
Signed, titled and dated "Physichromie N-951 - Cruz-Diez - Sept 1977 - CD" on the reverse.

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $173,000

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York Auction 18 November 2015 6pm