Ernst Wilhelm Nay - Vega
Ernst Wilhelm Nay
Oil on canvas. 75 x 86 cm. Framed. Signed and dated 'Nay. 57.'. Signed 'Nay' verso on canvas. - Minor traces of age.
While Ernst Wilhelm Nay's early "Scheibenbilder" (disc paintings), developing from 1954 onwards, still reflect the contrast between square and circular shapes, "Vega" (1957) shows the disc as a dominant motif. The painting is considered a characteristic example of the work series in which form and colour unfold to a harmonious interplay. More so than the differences of individual shapes, the colour is the centre of focus here. The vibrant choreography of colour that lends the work its radiant aura constitutes Orange, lemon Yellow/Citreous, Blue and Pink.
Nay's delicate colour application - which he mastered to perfection due to his longstanding experience in watercolour technique - influenced his oil painting. In "Vega", this is evident in the unique sensation of transparency. Considering this, the remaining white areas of the canvas do not appear as individual shapes but as partially brightly illuminated background which enhances the impression of suspended lightness.
“To the question on how he came about the shape of a disc, Nay responded that for him, the natural expansion of colour within the painting process was the circle. If he tried to expand the first dot of colour on a canvas, his hand would involuntarily guide his brush in circular movements so that a disc would evolve. This elementary experience, acquired from artistic craftsmanship, inspired the principle that lead to the ingenious simplification of his art” (Elisabeth Nay-Scheibler, in: Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Werkverzeichnis der Ölgemälde, Cologne 1990, vol. 1, p. 198).
Galerie Michael Hertz, Bremen; Kunsthalle, Bremen; Galerie Michael Hertz, Bremen; Henze & Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern (label verso); private collection, Westphalia
Düsseldorf 1959 (Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen), Ernst Wilhelm Nay, exhib.cat.no.108