Wojciech Fangor (1922 – 2015)


Warsaw 1922 – 2015
“B13”. 1964. Oil on canvas. 130 x 130cm. Signed, titled, and dated verso: FANGOR B13 1964. Framed.
Private collection, South Germany.
Estimation 60,000-80,000 euro. VAN HAM Kunstauktionen. 06/01/16


Warsaw 1922 – 2015
“E 30”. 1966. Oil on canvas. 71 x 71cm. Signed, titled and dated verso on the canvas: FANGOR, E30 1966. Framed.
Grabowski Gallery, London (stamp).

Wojciech Fangor began dealing with the interplay of simple forms (circle, square, wave, etc.) and diffuse colours and their transitions in the 1950s. What is remarkable in this context is that Fangor developed his style secluded from the then contemporary tendencies like “Op-Art” and “Color-Field-Painting” in quasi isolation, independently in Poland. Interrupted ink zones – diffluent shapes, tinges, and layers – and the optical illusions they produce can be found in his work as early as 1956.
As a participant of the program “Artists in Residence” of the Ford Foundation Berlin in 1965 Fangor wrote: “Today the painting begins to radiate outward from its colour fields. The painting has become a source of radiation that creates a zone of physical impact in space. In contrast to an imaginary space that works inwardly, a space working outwardly can be created.”
In 1966 the Grabowski Galerie, which was prestigious in the 1960s and 70s, dedicated a large solo exhibition in London to the artist. The painting “E30” was presented there for the first time. After having lived in Poland, France, Germany, England, and the USA, Fangor permanently transferred his residence to New York that same year, where he taught at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
A short time before the Museum of Modern Art had already ennobled the artist’s oeuvre with the sensational exhibition “The Responsive Eye”.
To use a sentence by Josef Albers, illusion in the visual context is “the discrepancy between physical facts and physical effects.” The momentum of Fangor’s space can be found somewhere between the observer and the canvas, in mid-air, where the eyes perceive it. Every attempt to focus on Fangor’s blurred and fluent paintings causes an immediate activation of colours and shapes, which disintegrate and revolve. Like an “imaginary painting” they escape a fixation by the eye. When it finally does permeate the kinetic field to rest on the canvas, the observer realises that the colours and compositions that he sees from a distance are not paint applications and actual forms, but illusionistic pictures in the foreground that are created by the individual perception
The interaction of colours is the key to Fangor’s illusionistic spaces. According to Josef Albers the same intensity of light of two shades prompts the dispersal of shapes, which he describes in his publication “Interaction of Color”. Fangor goes even a step further than Albers: to the three existing factors shade, optical impact, and mental perception he adds a fourth, the compression of space between the spectator’s eyes and the colourful surface. The area in front of the canvas is called “P.I.S.” (“Positive Illusory Space”) by Fangor. It is the opposite of “N.I.S.”, the “Negative Illusory Space” of traditional perspective. The observer always remains in relative distance to a spatial experience that takes place on or behind the painted surface. (Fangor, Wojciech in: Ford Foundation, Berlin Confrontation. Künstler in Berlin, Berlin, 1965, p. 30; Cp. Rowell, Margit: Einführung, in: Fangor, Ausstellungskatalog des Guggenheims Museums New York, 1970, p. 11 ff)

Estimate 30,000-50,000 euro. VAN HAM Kunstauktionen. 06/01/16


Lot 700. Wojciech Fangor (Warsaw 1922 – 2015 Błędów)
„B 70“. 1965
Oil on canvas. 60 × 60 cm ( 23 ⅝ × 23 ⅝ in.). Signed, titled and dated with brush in black on the reverse: FANGOR B 70 1965. On the stretcher a label of Galerie Springer, Berlin.
Provenienz: Private collection, Rhineland (acquired in 1966 at Galerie Springer, Berlin)

Estimate 70,000-90,000 euro. GRISEBACH GmbH. 06/03/16. Sold 112,500 euro


Lot 606. Wojciech Fangor
B 68
Oil on canvas. 60 x 60 cm. Framed. Signed, dated and titled ‘FANGOR B 68 1965’ verso on canvas. – Minor traces of age.

The present work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné by Stefan Szydlowski, Warsaw.

Galerie Springer, Berlin (with label verso); Private collection, North Rhine-Westphalia

The Polish artist Wojciech Fangor gains international fame as co-founder of the Polish Poster School. Beside his early works, which were heavily influenced by socialist realism in the beginning, first abstract works emerge from the late 1950s onwards. At the same time, his radiant circle compositions constitute the main emphasis in his oeuvre. As also becomes apparent in this present work, the vibrating bands of colour that fluidly merge into one another, generate an almost hypnotic effect spellbinding the observer. Thus, the luminous colours in a spectrum of green and blue violet give the impression of becoming blurred in front of their grey background. „Fangor’s spatial dynamics take place somewhere between the viewers and the canvas, at a point in mid-air where the eye perceives. Any attempt to focus on the blurred and fluid images provokes an immediate activation of color and contour which disintegrate and reintegrate and, like an after-image, elude the eye’s fixation. When the eye finally penetrates this kinetic field to settle upon the canvas, the viewer realizes that the colors and configurations he sees at a distance are not pigmentary hues and factual shapes but illusory foreground images engendered by the activity of perception. It is here that the above definition of optical illusion rings true: the eye’s perception do not stand up when their implication are tested.” (Margit Rowell, in: Fangor, exhib.cat. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 1970, p. 12)

Estimate 70,000-90,000 euro. Kunsthaus Lempertz KG. 06/04/16

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