Serge PoliakoffComposition abstraite
Oil on canvas
28.74 x 36.22 in ( 73 x 92 cm )
Inquiry - Composition abstraite, 1964


Certificate form Alexis Poliakoff


Private Collection, France

Artwork's description

This 1964 work has a palette of light and dark pigments at the same time, which gives a great contrast. Different shades of red and black meet, intertwine, mix and give nuance to the composition. The artist mixed pure pigments and binders himself to find the right vibration. "For the future, I bet on Poliakoff," said Kandinsky during his first meeting in 1939 with his younger son Serge Poliakoff, a Russian immigrant to Paris like him. What the pioneer of abstract art foresaw appears with force in the mature work Abstract composition: by a vibrant syncretism of form with color, Poliakoff composed a visual harmony, what he called a "poem plastic". Like stanzas, unique shapes come together in a subtle pictorial balance, from which nothing can be removed. And the vibrations of colors, like the syllables of a line, create the poetic rhythm. The abstract composition of Poliakoff uses the luminous palette which mared the last years of the painter free in execution without giving in to lyricism, linear without being geometric, the work escaped post-war classifications. Because, the one who frequented in Paris the salon of Delaunay and Otto Freundlich, aimed at an ethereal abstraction. The chromatic material, laid out in transparency, alone builds the mystery: ?Poliakoff's painting is one of those that lends itself least to comment. It is the world of silence and "pure painting" [...] But its "little miracle" is undoubtedly knowing how to make silence vibrate "(in Michel Ragon," Serge Poliakoff ", Arts, November 11, 1964). 

Artist's biography

Serge Poliakoff was born in Moscow in 1900 and is considered a major painter of abstraction.

Very quickly he enrolled in the Moscow drawing school but quickly became a traveling musician to flee the war. Which led him to Paris in 1923, where he continued to play the guitar in Russian cabarets. He took the opportunity to enroll at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière but continued to produce academic works.

After a two-year stay in London, he discovered abstract art and met Sonia Delaunay, Vassily Kandinsky, etc. Her works change and are based on the color and light it brings and the emotion it provides without any figurative representation.

Serge Poliakoff's compositions revolve around very colorful curved forms which very quickly overlap and allow him to establish himself as an important artist of the Paris School.

In the 1940s he concentrated on works in gray-brown tones before developing canvases in bright tones and more geometric from 1950.

In the 1960s, he presented monochrome works in shades of ocher, abandoning construction in favor of the play of light. In 1962 he was naturalized French.

In 2013, a major retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art in the city of Paris (“Le rêve des feuilles”). Success was immediate for this artist who knew how to develop his own lyrical abstract language.

 Serge Poliakoff died in 1969.