Victor Vasarely (1906–1997) was born Vásárhelyi Győző in Pécs, Hungary in 1906.
He studied in Budapest at the Academy of Painting (1925–7) and under Alexander Bortnyk (1893–1977) at the ‘Mühely’ Academy, also known as the Budapest Bauhaus (1929–30). In 1930 he left Hungary and settled in Paris, where he initially supported himself as a commercial artist.
Initially influenced by Constructivism, he developed a distinct style of animated geometric forms in interacting colours. His work Zebra (1937), is considered by some to be one of the earliest examples of Op Art. His style reached its maturity in the 1950s and 60s when he began to use brighter, more vibrant colours and experimenting with optical illusions, culminating in his hallmark ‘checkerboard paintings’. The serigraphs in the AGYU collection date to this period (specifically 1966-67). Vasarely also worked in a variety of media including prints, sculpture, and interior design.
A large part of the artist’s oeuvre is housed in the Vasarely Museum at the Château de Gourdes, in southern France, and its counterpart in Budapest. In 1970 he established the Vasarely Foundation, which in 1976 took up quarters near Aix-en-Provence in a building that he designed. Major institutions that house his work include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. In 2019, a temporary exhibition of Vasarely's work entitled Le Partage des Formes was displayed in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.