Serigraph with lithographic background print on paper (1948), 21×15 cm, 40,7×33,7 cm (including frame). Volume Abstraction was published as portfolio in Prague in the year 1948.
Origin: antiquariat Prague
in the book Frank Kupka in White & Black Arnauld Pierre Artists Bookworks, Liverpool University Press, 1998
in the catalogue František Kupka, from the collection of Jan a Meda Mládek, ČMVU, Prague 1996, picture number 210
in the catalogue František Kupka: Pioneer of Abstraction, Painter of the Cosmos Dallas – Wolfsburg – Prague 1997-1998, page 32
in the monograph František Kupka, Vachtová, 1968, pages 207 – 209
Exhibited at the French Institute Praha, 14.9.-3.11.2016
The highest price achieved in auction – 56 million CZK in the year 2012, Adolf Loos Apartment and Gallery, Prague.
The highest price achieved in auction for graphics – 8 thousand USD, Sotheby’s New York.
The highest known price for graphics achieved in gallery sale – 500 thousand CZK in the year 2016, Prague.
This timeless volume of minimalistic abstract gouaches became known in the year 1933, when it was published in the second issue of Paris revue Astraction-Creation. Nevertheless, in the same year Kupka steps out of the group of nonfigurative painters (of the same name) and confirms the fact that he as an author cannot be categorized. Only many years after the death of Kupka, this exceptional work was highlighted by the architect and fine-artist Max Bill. The first time when this volume was published it contained twelve gouaches, later four more were added – the volume therefore contains 16 sheets. The first seven are dedicated to geometrical areas of black and white, the rest of them to circles and their variations. If we put the individual sheets side by side, a mosaic is created resembling strange enigma code from the Universe – a calculated rhythm and logic becomes obvious. At the time of the creation of the volume, Kupka suffered from serious depression and his wife Nini even wanted to hospitalize him. Prague Academy actually terminated his job of the professor in Paris. So, completely alone and in doubts, Kupka creates this timeless work, which became appreciated only in the 21st century.
The reduction of form and its variability show that Kupka progressed in his research literally scientifically – he was not after the sweetness of composition, he was striving to find the “Truth”. In the logic of the cycle we can see also the difference between Kupka and his – also famous – colleague Mondrian, who in the same time came to similar form, but in a completely different way. Kupka, by his way of usage of the white area surrounding black shapes, violates the traditional hierarchy of perception of forms and he almost achieves optical illusions. The volume Abstraction is the top of Kupka´s controlled research of the abstract style. It is necessary to add, that Kupka was aware of his lead, and that the life of the outsider in the fine-art had to be very difficult.