The exhibit “Kupka, pioneer of abstraction” at the Grand Palais of Paris

  • © Virginie Dennemont/ France

    © Virginie Dennemont/ France

The exhibit “Kupka, pioneer of abstraction” at the Grand Palais of Paris 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower paris fr

This Kupka retrospective traces the European years of the Czech painter,  who spent a large part of his life in Paris among a circle of great contemporary artists,  and is among the pioneers of abstract painting. It’s an artistic event not to be missed, running from March 21 to July 30th, 2018.

In an explosion of colors, the exposition explores the moment when the artist switched to what would become a major artistic movement. The journey from figuration to abstraction in Frantisek Kupka’s oeuvre (1871 - 1957) is undoubtedly the most obvious, but not the only, one of his shifts in a career which never ceased to question and experiment with the artistic craft.

Through the life and work of the most Parisian of Czech painters, the exhibition offers a new approach to two major trends of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: symbolism and abstraction.

The organization of the exhibition is chronological and thematic, through some 300 works, paintings, drawings, engravings, manuscripts, newspapers, illustrated books and photographs. The layout allows us to understand the artist's paths through various dimensions, colors, volumes.

The audience travels from the era where Kupka distinguished himself as an illustrator (he published between 600 and 700 designs in libertarian and libertine publications between 1900 and 1906) to the stage when he dedicated his work to painting.


Adagp, Paris 2018 © Philadelphia Museum of Art  —  Disques de Newton, 1912. oil on canvas. US, Philadelphia. Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950.


Inspired by everything from classical history to philosophy and from religion to science, Isaac Newton’s work on the composition of light would inspire some of Kupka’s most famous works.

“For Kupka, color was already a form” explained Markéta Theinhardt, co-curator of the exposition.

"Kupka, pioneer of abstraction" focuses on the key moments of the painter's creative period, from his symbolist masterpieces to Parisian expressionist portraits, and from figurative paintings saturated with color to the 1912 switch to abstraction, before his final geometric abstraction.

The Grand Palais presents the first Kupka retrospective since the 1976 exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the 1989 exhibition at the Musée d'art moderne in Paris. The exposition is set to be one of the hottest cultural events this year in Paris.

For more info:

"Kupka, Pioneer of Abstraction" at The Grand Palais

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