Jesús Rafael Soto - 20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Wednesday, November 13, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Dr. Eloy Montenegro, Caracas
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    A pioneer of Kinetic Art and Op Art, Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto has, since the 1950s, produced a body of work that is remarkable for its ability to consistently examine complex philosophical and scientific questions pertaining to the nature of the universe. Soto began his career, at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas of Caracas, where he gained a thorough understanding of Impressionism and Cubism, movements that the artist always regarded as fundamental to his artistic practice. "I was looking for vibration through repetition. I was interested in the problem of vibration and the study of light, something that had fascinated me in the work of Velázquez, and that the impressionists, whom I have always respected, studied very consciously" (Jesús Rafael Soto, quoted in Ariel Jimenez, Conversaciones con Jesús Rafael Soto, Caracas, 2005, p. 154).

    Between 1950 and 1962, the artist experimented with optics and movement. Paris was key for this experimentation. His attendance to the experimental Salon des Realités Nouvelles and Galerie Denise René along with his exchange of ideas with well-known European artists such as Fernand Léger, Jean Arp, Jean Tinguely, and Victor Vasarely, as well as other important Latin American artists, allowed him to become one of the central players in the development of kinetic and interactive art. He searched in his work for a personal language that would allow him to project energy. By 1969, Soto had already established himself as a renowned artist in the international scene. He had his first retrospectives at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris and many exhibitions in galleries around the world.

    Vibración y Color, 1969, is an extraordinary example of Soto’s texturally and chromatically vibrant oeuvre. With the use of white, red yellow and black, varying scales and kinetics, Soto creates a work that absorbs the viewer into its center of gravity. The effect of movement is accentuated by the contrast between the stacked upper part of the composition and the variations in formats between the squares in the lower part. It is an exemplary work where the artist has redefined art’s relationship to viewers, refusing a traditional model of passive contemplation. Vibración y Color requires the active participation of the viewer, who must circulate before the work to appreciate the optical impression of movement that the artist generates by the superposition of forms, structures and colors. The viewer’s involvement is of critical importance to create a symbiotic relationship with the work, as one can only truly appreciate the full components when moving in front of the work.

  • Artist Biography

    Jesús Rafael Soto

    Venezuelan • 1923 - 2005

    Jesús Rafael Soto was born in Ciudad Bolívar and studied at the School of Visual and Applied Arts in Caracas. During this period he became acquainted with Los Disidentes, a group of artists that included Alejandro Otero and Carlos Cruz-Diez. In addition to his fellow compatriots, Soto’'s work was influenced by Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian.

    The main artistic tenets evinced in Soto's works are pure abstraction, vibrations, progressions and geometric rigor. They can be seen through the use of lines and superimposed squares in his sculptures, made with paint and a series of industrial and synthetic materials. He spent much time in Europe, becoming a key member of the Group Zero movement, which included such artists as Lucio Fontana, Gunther Uecker and Yves Klein. As a result, Soto's work also incorporates modernist concepts such as light, time, movement, color manipulation and space. All of these facets place him as an important figure within the Kinetic and Op Art movements.

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Lot offered with No Reserve

Vibración y Color

signed, titled and dated ""VIBRACION Y COLOR" Soto 1969" on the reverse
acrylic on wood and metal
53 1/8 x 32 5/8 x 5 1/2 in. (135 x 83 x 14 cm.)
Executed in 1969, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Comité Soto.

$350,000 - 450,000 

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th C. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 13 November 2019