Lot 17
  • 17

Carlos Cruz-Diez (b. 1923)

200,000 - 300,000 USD
509,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Carlos Cruz-Diez
  • Fisicromia
  • signed, titled and dated Paris/Set. 61 on the reverse
  • cardboard (Celloderme), casein (Plaka), and various glued objects mounted on plywood


Gift from the artist
Profesor Eduardo Lira Espejo, Caracas
Eduardo Rodríguez Lira, Caracas (by descent from the above)
Roberto di Campli, Caracas
Private Collection, Caracas

Catalogue Note

“An artist of great integrity, Cruz-Diez thinks that science and industry can be at the service of art—and he finds this fact somewhat amusing rather than intimidating. He has based his subtle artistic research on data provided by science, but has adapted it to his own plastic techniques and poetic sensibility. It goes almost without saying that such an undertaking could only progress by stages which were marked by a number of personal discoveries [. . .] 1959 was an important date in Cruz-Diez’s artistic development. It was at this stage that he learned of Dr. Land’s writings on color and the polaroid effects.

An article by Dr. Land dealt with the filtering of the physical colors of red and green and pointed out that the simple addition or subtraction of these colours could produce the whole of the color spectrum, especially in its application in photographic reproduction processes. Cruz-Diez adapted this technique to his own research. He abandoned the traditional idea of coloring surfaces with paint in favor of the notion of coloring areas and spaces with light. By using these ‘natural’ projections and reflections Cruz-Diez hoped to dispose of a complete ‘physiological’ color scale based only on the ‘physical’ colours of red and green.

But soon Cruz-Diez decided to go beyond a mere reproduction of forms and started experimenting with color projections at varying distances. Thus, still in 1959, he made his first Physichromie by applying more thoroughly by the theory of additional colors. Using his new technique of cardboard blades separated by regular distances, Cruz-Diez took again as his basic colors, red and green, and added white as the principal source of luminous density and black in its role as a ‘negation’ of light. Cruz-Diez could now realize his intention of creating an interplay between the reflections of great intensity towards the spectator and the spreading effect on to neighboring surfaces. The interference between these two kinds of radiation will result in the perceived color, and it is important to note that the resultant color is quite different from any of the surface colors. Another way of adding to the different possibilities is to vary the material and the thickness of the blades.”

Frank Popper, “The Physichromies of Carlos Cruz-Diez,” SIGNALS, vol. 1, no. 9, August – October 1965, p. 11