Luis Tomasello - Latin America New York Thursday, May 23, 2013 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Hans Mayer, Dusseldorf
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    "My work isn't violent to the eye, it's tenuous and the movement is so calmed that it's almost imperceptible and it generates itself by the repetition of the elements. The color is tranquil, as if it were a sunbeam and thus, the movement gets perceived over time." Luis Tomasello

    Barnett Newman famously said about his monolithic Ver. Heroicus Sublimis that he expects the viewer to interact with the 20 foot-long work by moving across the entire length in order to appreciate the changing aspect ratios and relationships between elements. This directive is in essence the core of Kinetic Art that was made famous by Argentine artist Luis Tomasello, whose work set the stage for the emergence of the Op- art movement in the mid 20th century.

    The artist’s most acclaimed works, Atmosphères chromoplastiques, place white, angled cubes with back-facing accents of vibrant color onto a white surface that results in a play on shadow and light. As a pioneer of Optical Art, he began experimenting with the effects of color reflection in his work, and shifted his focus largely onto the phenomenon of light. Tomasello strategically placed these cubes on the work’s surface to express movement as the viewer approaches the work from different positions in any given space.

    Atmosphére chromoplastique No. 248 (1970) consists of four hundred cubes laid uniformly upon a wood en surface, creating a grid with equally proportioned spaces between forms. The underside of each cubic unit is painted on two surfaces with fluorescent green or electric blue , creating a subtle glow throughout the work. The present lot epitomizes Tomasello’s oeuvre in its expolartion of the interplay of color and light that occurs where the cubes meet the work’s surface and where the veiwer’s eye engages with the materials. Atmosphére chromoplastique No. 248 is a large scale example of Tomasello’s mastery of the dialogue between the geometric and kinetic forces on hand in his own work and in modern art at large.

    Educated in Buenos Aires, Tomasello joined a group of Argentine artists who moved to Paris in 1957. His painterly research began with Concretism and the influence of Piet Mondrian. In his intital exposure to European art, he was deeply impacted by the optical effects of the stained windows of Chartres Cathedral. The study of these winodws and their engagement with light would become preeminent features in Tomasello’s work and lay the groundwork for a career as one of the most celebrated figures in geometric abstraction. Tomasello was represented by the avant-garde Galerie Denise René and showed at numerous national and international exhibitions of Op-Art, including the groundbreaking show La Lumière et le Mouvement (1967).



Atmosphère chromoplastique No. 248

acrylic and wood construction on panel
62 1/8 x 62 1/8 x 3 7/8 in. (157.7 x 157.7 x 10 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated "Atmosphere chromoplastique N 248 1970 Luis Tomasello" on the reverse.

$150,000 - 250,000 

Contact Specialist
Henry Allsopp
Worldwide Director, Latin American Art
+ 1 212 940 1216

Latin America

New York 23 May 2013 4pm