Lot 4
  • 4

František Kupka

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 USD
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  • František Kupka
  • La Forme du bleu
  • Signed Kupka (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 28 3/4 by 23 1/2 in.
  • 73 by 59.7 cm


Louis Carré, Paris

Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne

Acquired from the above in November 1998


Prague, Galerie S.V.U. Mánes, František Kupka: Vystava zivotního díla 1880-1946, 1946, no. 162

Vienna, Galerie Würthle, Léger, Gromaire, Villon, Kupka, 1955, no. 50

Montrouge, Galerie Louis Carré, Kupka, peintures 1910-1946, 1964, no. 13

Cologne, Galerie Gmurzynska, Frank Kupka, 1981, no. 23, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Centre Culturel et Artistique, 27e Salon de Montrouge, Hommage à Kupka, 1982, no. 20

Tanlay, Château de Tanlay, Souvenirs d'un muse à la champagne - Chemins de la création, Ancy-Le-Franc 1965-1981, dessin, peinture, sculpture, art primitif, 1984, no. 60, illustrated in the catalogue

Monte-Carlo, Centre de Congrès de Monte-Carlo, L'Art de la couleur en France, 1912-1985, 1985

New York, Claude Bernard Gallery, Kupka: Paintings and Gouaches, 1990, no. 4, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art; Sendai, The Miyagi Museum of Art & Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, František Kupka, 1994, no. 116, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Cologne, Galerie Gmurzynska, František Kupka Die andere Realität, The Other Reality, 1995, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue

Punkaharju, Finland, Retretti Art Center, Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Frank Kupka, 1996, no. 24

Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art (on extended loan from December 1998 through March 2000)

Dallas, The Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts, Texas Vision: The Barrett Collection, The Art of Switzerland and Texas, 2004-05, no. 109, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art (on extended loan from July 2011 through February 2012)


Guy Habasque, "Kupka, trois ans après sa mort, la célébrité" in Connaissance des Arts, Paris, 1960, illustrated p. 35

Ludmila Vachtová, František Kupka, Prague, 1968, no. 251

Karel Srp, František Kupka Geometrie myšlenek, Prague, 2012, no. 156, illustrated p. 188

Vladimir Lekeš et. al., František Kupka, Catalogue raisonné des huiles, Prague, 2016, no. 227, illustrated in color p. 381

Catalogue Note

Together with Malevich and Kandinsky, Kupka was one of the fathers of abstract art, and a major proponent of modernism in his native Czechoslovakia. He considered himself a “color symphonist," and set out to express his inner states through the harmonies and rhythms produced solely through color and line. This work is one of six canvases entitled La Forme du bleu, painted between 1919 and 1924. Kupka based these works on vertical bands of color, radiating from a single point settled in the lower portion of the composition. Dominated by a range of rich blues and cooler whites, Kupka’s composition possesses a sense of vertiginous force and magnetism, which behaves within the rational laws of perspective, but with a greater, almost astral scope.

La Forme du bleu A I demonstrates Kupka’s shift away from the organic, undulating shapes of his earlier work towards the sharper, more angular forms of his mechanistic paintings. The dynamic effect is further reinforced by a new color scheme - the artist has abandoned his earlier vibrant, modulated colors for a palette dominated by primary blue and red tones set against a black and white background.

In 1924 Francis Picabia declared that Kupka, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray were the three artists he held in the highest regard. The somewhat unusual addition of Kupka in this trio belies Picabia’s understanding of Kupka’s radical contribution to the development of abstraction, and particularly that the source of Kupka’s abstraction was Symbolism rather than Cubism. In the 1920s Kupka’s dedication to symbolism took his abstraction further towards the emblematic power of certain shapes and colors, which echoed Kandinsky’s own artistic practice during his Bauhaus period. In writing about Kupka’s artistic theory, Margit Rowell commented: “For Kupka, the physiological properties of color (number, length, speed of wave lengths) dictate an ideal shape. The ideal form for red is round, orange is oval, green is undulating etc… The ideal form for blue is vertical and rectilinear: ‘Blue, like its closest neighbors on the spectrum, because it seems to recede in space, or at least draw back into itself, should be motivated or enclosed by tapered, rectilinear forms” (M. Rowell, František Kupka 1871-1957. A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1975, p. 280).