1882 - 1960
Composition, Abstraction, 1925
Signed lower right
Oil on canvas
35 x 45 3/4 in, 89.1 x 116.1 cm
'Composition, Abstraction' is an exceptional example of Herbin’s colourful large scale canvases with which he challenged the status of easel painting and formed a bridge between Cubism and post-war geometric...
'Composition, Abstraction' is an exceptional example of Herbin’s colourful large scale canvases with which he challenged the status of easel painting and formed a bridge between Cubism and post-war geometric abstraction. Painted in the seminal year of 1925, this significant work marks the beginning of the period when Herbin synthesised modernist vocabularies to create his most dynamic compositions.
Herbin began his artistic career by studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lille. In 1901 he moved to Paris where he met Picasso, Braque and Gris and gradually turned from Fauvism to Cubism. Deterred by negative remarks from critics, in 1921 he reverted temporarily to a more representational style. However, this highly significant work signals the artist's return to abstraction for the first time since 1921.
In 1931 he co-founded the group Abstraction-Création with Theo Van Doesburg, Jean Helion and Georges Vantongerloo, and whose members included Piet Mondrian and Naum Gabo. Alongside these artists, Herbin created an inventive form of abstraction, defined by its pure geometric designs and rhythmically structured compositions. Here he evokes a sense of energy with the appearance of black contours which guide the viewer’s eye through this complex composition.
Herbin's work employs a broad and rich palette of colours. He was deeply interested in Kandsinsky’s ideas regarding colour’s allegoric, symbolic and mystical potential, Herbin consequently developed his own theories in which he espoused the emotional perception of shapes and colours. By 1949 he had set out this system in his hugely influential book 'L'Art Non-Figuratif Non-Objectif’.
This vibrant painting perfectly encapsulates Herbin’s move towards pure abstraction to which he dedicated his career from 1925.
Galerie L’Effort Moderne (Léonce Rosenberg), Paris
Galerie Zlotowski, Paris
Private Collection, Europe
London, Dickinson at Frieze Masters, Hommage to Leonce Rosenberg, October 2015
Anatole Jakovski, Auguste Herbin, Paris, 1933, illustrated p. 48
René Massat, Auguste Herbin, Paris, 1953, illustrated p. 17
Geneviève Claisse, Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint d’Herbin, Lausanne, 1993, no. 570, illustrated p. 379
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Madame Genevieve Claisse, numbered 1343 and dated 3 April 2016