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

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 21 March to 30 July 2018.

In an explosion of colours, 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, colours, volumes.

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, colour 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 exhibition is set to be one of the hottest cultural events this year in Paris.

The Grand Palais in Paris