Vasarely, Victor, 1908–97, French artist, one of the originators of op art, b. Pécs, Hungary. Educated at art institutes in Budapest, Vasarely was profoundly impacted by Bauhaus thought. He settled (1930) in Paris, where he worked as a commercial artist and graphic designer and later (1959) became a French citizen. Influenced by such modernist movements as constructivism, cubism, and surrealism, by the 1930s he had begun working with the elements of geometric abstraction. In the post–World War II years Vasarely worked out a new pictorial and spatial language, at first in black and white and soon in color. Exploiting optical illusions, he juxtaposed colors so that they appeared to vibrate, meanwhile developing a technique that made parts of his geometric images seem to bulge forward from their surface ground. Vasarely's paintings and graphic art reached the peak of their popularity and influence in the 1960s and 70s.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.