Victor Vasarely — The Grandfather of the Op Art Movement

Visual art is something that can captivate the mind, take the breath away, sweep off the feet, and, finally, make the flesh crawl. Amongst a variety of approaches to creating art, confusion, as well as illusion, comes across as the most perplexing and genuinely atypical tools of depiction. If we were to answer the question of what is hidden behind the nature of such art, we would definitely turn to Victor Vasarely, a world-renowned master and legend of optical art, who created the geometrical odyssey that swayed over the perception of modern art forever.

Victor Vasarely was a Hungarian-born French artist working with optical illusions, geometric shapes, and colorful images. His art was so unique that it became one of the brightest manifestations of the 1950s-70s. Influenced by Constructivism and Bauhaus tradition, Vasarely later developed his own style and thus laid the foundation of the Opt Art movement. Although he worked in an advertising agency, it did not hamper the artist to continue his exploration of design, architecture, and geometric abstraction.

Photo credit: Flickr User Gandalf’s Gallery / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

When looking at the amazing artworks by Victor Vasarely, it is sometimes difficult to fully understand how a single repetitive image can be so compelling and head-turning. The movement and vibrating patterns create an effect of warping and flashing, which greatly adds to the varied structures. A bit later, Vasarely also added a bright palette of colors to his paintings and sculptures, which made his works even more lively and elaborate.

Photo credit: Flickr User Gandalf’s Gallery / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Zebra (1937) was Victor Vasarely’s first major artwork representing the Opt Art movement. However, to embrace the artist’s whole potency and exclusiveness, you should also see his Vega III (1957–59), Alphabet VR (1960), iconic Vega-Nor (1969), and his latest Ketters (1970). Many of his works are featured at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Tate Gallery in London, the Vasarely Didactic Museum at the Château de Gourdes, and the Vasarely Museum in Budapest.

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