The Life and Legacy of Vera Molnár

In Memoriam

Vera Molnár (1924-2023), the “grande dame of Generative Art,” has died just one month shy of her hundredth birthday. The artist’s legacy reaches back to at least the 1950s, when, inspired by Constantin Brâncuși, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy and Victor Vasarely, she began incorporating algorithms into her artistic process as a machine imaginaire. “My greatest pleasure in life is to slide the tip of a pencil over the paper, look at the mark, erase it and start again,” she said. In the 1960s she cofounded the collaborative organization Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel – whose membership included François Morellet and Julio Le Parc and which was influential to the Kinetic Art and Op Art movements – and soon after became one of the very first artists to make work with a computer.

Recent years have seen Molnár receive her proper due, especially when she took pride of place in Cecilia Alemani’s “The Milk of Dreams,” the critically lauded 2022 edition of the Venice Biennale. This summer, she revisited the genesis of her practice with “Themes and Variations,” a collaborative project with Martin Grasser that saw 500 unique digital artworks sell at Sotheby’s.

In the video above, first produced on the occasion of that project, revisit Molnár’s extraordinary life and work.

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