Frantisek Kupka

5 March 2004 - 29 May 2004

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Pavillon du musée Fabre, Montpellier

The pioneering modern artist Frantisek Kupka (1871-1957) was one of the very first painters to make the leap into abstraction, with Kandinsky, Picabia and Léger.

After studying in Prague and Vienna, Kupka settled in Paris in 1895, and remained there until his death in 1957. His constantly-evolving work falls into six main periods. The "conventional" period (1900-09) includes boldy-coloured, typically Fauvist, figurative works. The Studies of Movement (1909-11) testify to Kupka's fascination with cinema and photography, and his experiments with the depiction of phased movement through the use of multiple silhouettes. Works from the following period (the so-called Researches into Light and Colour of 1911-25), are marked by his interest in the cosmos, nature and the organic world. In 1925 and 1926, Kupka devoted himself to painting triangular forms composed from symmetrical arrangements of broken lines. From 1926 to 1932, his work was strongly influenced by jazz. His pure geometrical period (1932-57) is characterised by his choice of a black-and-white palette, and pure, essential forms. The Centre Pompidou's exhibition Hors les murs ("Extra muros") brings some 45 paintings, 38 drawings and numerous documents to the Pavillon du Musée Fabre, illustrating the successive stages of Kupka's artistic development.