Auction 1078, Modern Art, 02.12.2016, 18:00, Cologne Lot 231

Serge Poliakoff, Composition Rouge orange gris bleu

Serge Poliakoff, Composition Rouge orange gris bleu, 1952, Auction 1078 Modern Art, Lot 231

Serge Poliakoff

Moscow 1900 - 1969 Paris

Composition Rouge orange gris bleu

Circa 1952

Oil on canvas. 60.5 x 50.3 cm. Framed. Signed 'SERGE POLIAKOFF' in reddish-brown lower right. - Craqueleur and minimal losses of colour in places, primarily in the darker areas.

A. Poliakoff 52-89 (Addendum vol. 3)

With a confirmation of authenticity by Marcelle Poliakoff, the artist's wife, Paris, dated 20 April 1971.


Formerly collection Durer, Switzerland; Private possession, Switzerland (since 1971); Private possession, Berlin

Serge Poliakoff's compositions develop out of themselves. Setting out from a single point, the painter constructs an organic framework of colours, whose specific correspondences and contours are mutually dependent. As in a dialogue, Poliakoff continues to juxtapose and superimpose the individual fields of colour until they arrive at a mutual balance and the relationship of form and colour seems compelling.

Until 1953 Poliakoff still continued to work with pronounced lines, which he used to interrelate the chromatic zones. However, the basis of the present composition is formed directly by the planes laid on top of one another. The artist has placed the polygonal elements, whose sides are sometimes slightly rounded, in front of a neutral background underlaid with red and vertically divided into a half ranging from white to ochre and a black half. In this work Poliakoff deliberately renounces a colourful palette for the sake of richly nuanced monochromatic shapes, and he experiments with the harmonic relative weight of the forms in space. In this context the composition draws its strength primarily from the expansion of the red elements before the light and dark backgrounds.

Poliakoff began to achieve international recognition as an abstract artist in the early 1950s. In 1952 the Parisian gallery Bing offered him a contract which enabled him to stop working as a musician and dedicate himself exclusively to his painting. The first monograph devoted to the painter written by Michel Ragon was published as early as 1956.

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