Nature Morte Puriste à la Guitare
Pastel chalks and graphite on smooth, thin paper. The composition (42.6 X 30.4. cm) defined linearly in pencil 45.7 X 34.7 cm Framed under glass. Signed and dated 'ozenfant 1923-24' in white lower right. - Minor marginal defects. Mounted on mat support along the edges.
Entirely in keeping with the spirit of that period, the young Amédée Ozenfant attentively followed the Cubist tendencies of the French avant-garde in early 20th-century Paris. Ozenfant had diverse interests and, in addition to his well-known work as a visual artist, he also published a number of important texts, including “Après le cubisme”, which he composed together with Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) in 1918.
Cubism was the precondition for the artistic approach of Ozenfant and Le Corbusier but, from then on, it served to establish a distinction. Using the term “Purism”, they formulated the artistic programme of a new avant-garde, which turned away from the developments of Cubism in order to propagate the principles of a more rational aesthetic order: a concept of simplification and a clear planimetric disposition which relates the geometries of the object and of surfaces to one another. However the collaboration between the two artists came to an end in 1925, at the latest: they had developed in different directions. Ozenfant was now emphasising visual art's independence relative to architecture and all functional frameworks. In particular, he saw it as removed from mechanical or industrial contexts.
In visual art the ideas of Purism were carried out primarily in the form of still lifes, and Amédée Ozenfant's focus on this subject is thus logical. Our work strikingly demonstrates how the artist compositionally realised the propagated clarification of the pictorial space. In a nuanced dialogue between surface and space, this still life featuring traditional pictorial elements like the bottle, guitar and cup arrives at a finely balanced equilibrium. As cool as Ozenfant's compositional principles may sometimes seem, the lively, meditatively poetic aspect of this work's drawing is nonetheless particularly impressive.
With a photo-certificate from Pierre Guénégan, Paris, dated 29 December 2016 (certificate no. 285/2016); the pastel is to be included in the supplement of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works on paper by Amédée Ozenfant.
Formerly Marie Cutolli Collection, Algier (acquired directly from the artist); Galerie Myrbor, Paris (1928); Private collection, Lugano; European private collection
Paris 1928 (Galerie Myrbor), Gruppenausstellung mit Werken von de La Fresnaye, Raoul Dufy, Juan Gris, Jean Lurçat, Louis Marcoussis, Ozenfant, Picasso