Lot 225
  • 225

Luis Tomasello

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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  • Luis Tomasello
  • Atmosphère Chromoplastique No. 404
  • signed, titled and dated 1976 on the reverse
  • painted wood construction
  • 63 by 63 by 4 1/2 in. 160 by 160 by 11.4 cm.


Galería Mestre Mateo, La Coruña
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1976 


La Coruña, Galería Mestre Mateo, Tomasello: La alquimia siempre, 1976


The panel is in very good condition. The white painted panel displays an aged surface with a paint layer that is tightly bound. The edges and corners of the panel exhibit minor wear that has resulted in paint loss. Local inpainting was noted on a loss along the bottom edge and on the top corners. Faint brown spotting can be seen on numerous squares throughout the composition. Some of the cubes have rubbed edges and minor paint loss. A faint black staining was observed on several of the painted cubes. The green and yellow sides of the cubes exhibit very good color retention. The outside edges of the frame that supports the main panel has surface soiling. No significant damage was observed on the panel. The cubes are securely attached to the panel and the panel in general is structurally sound. (This condition report has been prepared courtesy of Wilson Conservation, LLC)
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Born in 1915 to Italian parents in Buenos Aires, Luis Tomasello found his inclination towards the arts early on, working with his father from an early age as a bricklayer, carpenter, and painter. This constructive perspective continued to influence his work as an artist throughout his life, as he moved quickly from painting to relief and sculptural forms. Through his studies in Buenos Aires he met one of the principal figures of the avant-garde Grupo Madí, Carmelo Arden Quin, who introduced him to abstraction and inspired him to visit Europe. In 1957 he moved permanently to Paris, where he began his explorations in abstraction and, in 1960, in relief.

Upon moving to Paris, Tomasello became quickly involved with the burgeoning Lumino-Kinetic movement, working closely alongside such peers as Takis, Mack, Tinguely, and Soto. Seeking to move beyond the principles of Madí and focus on the manipulation of light and color, Tomasello began his seminal series, Atmosphères Chromoplastiques (Chromo-plastic atmospheres), to which the present work belongs. In this series, Tomasello uses the recurring medium of white wooden relief to diverse and entrancing effects, exploiting the capricious nature of light to create works that change constantly as the viewer moves through their space. This continual variation of the image is achieved by interaction between the movement of the viewer and the movement of light across the surface, activating colors and optical illusions that create a mirage-like effect of perpetual motion and undulation. In the present work, a central diamond pattern emerges and recedes as the viewer circulates around it, and alternating patterns of green and blue flicker across the surface. 

Tomasello continued to work in this idiom throughout his life. His works from this series were not only included in critical kinetic exhibitions of the period, including Bewogen Beweging (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam/Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1961), Nouvelle Tendance II (Zagreb, 1963), The Responsive Eye (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1965), and Lumi­ère et Mouvement (Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, 1967), but also now belong to museum collections around the world, including the Musée National d’Art Moderne Georges Pompidou, Paris, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The power and fascinating nature of the Atmosphères chromoplastiques is captured in a statement Tomasello wrote for Nouvelle tendance in 1964. “The shape gives rise to the color, which is transformed from vision into sensation; it is projected into space, where it tints the atmosphere, and becomes iridescent on touching the plane. The movement is caused, not merely by the position of the viewer, but above all by the intensity and motion of the illumination. Sunlight – natural light, in other words – is ideal for appreciating the magical, infinite values of these plastic three-dimensional objects.” (Luis Tomasello, in Serge Lemoine, Tomasello: Visible structure and reflected color, Miami 2012, p. 8)