Lot 34
  • 34

Carlos Cruz-Diez(b. 1923)

400,000 - 600,000 USD
492,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Carlos Cruz-Diez
  • Physichromie (Baroque) 
  • signed, titled and dated Paris 1961 on the reverse 
  • cardboard, casein, and various objects mounted on plywood with wood strip frame


Gift from the artist
The Collection of Juan and Fina Liscano, Caracas 
Private Collection, Miami


Mari-Carmen Ramírez, et al., Carlos Cruz-Diez: Color in Space and Time, Houston, 2011, no. 42, p. 130, illustrated in color 

Catalogue Note

In May 1959, Scientific American magazine published a landmark article by Edwin H. Land, Founder of the Polaroid company, titled "Experiments in Color Vision" where he noted that "the eye has recently been found to be an instrument of wonderful and unsuspected versatility."  Land's color theories had a profound effect on Cruz-Diez leading him to create artworks in which color--traditionally subservient to form--reclaimed its place as its principal component. 

The very early Physichromies were created in the artist's studio in Caracas. Soon after his move to Paris in 1960, Cruz-Diez found himself immersed in a fertile environment artistically dominated by the Informalists. Emerging as the European response to the rigors imposed by geometric abstraction, artists like Jean Fautrier, Wols, Alberto Burri and Antoni Tàpies emphasized spontaneity, irrationality, and freedom of form--much like their American counterparts, the Abstract Expressionists.

For a very brief period of time and in dialogue with these artists, Carlos Cruz-Diez inserted his chromatic assemblages in red, green, black and white on an informal background made of found objects such as nails and clips, etc...

We recently asked the artist about these quite singular productions:

When I arrived in Paris in 1960, Informal Art was at its height. As I was experimenting, I felt tempted to create works with a double discourse, mixing the static with the dynamic. I thought that by contrast, the idea of color appearing and disappearing in space would be more evident as it is the case effectively in this unnumbered Physichromie.