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Abstract Composition

Jean Helion

Abstract Composition

Jean Helion
  • Original Title: Composition abstraite
  • Date: 1934
  • Style: Abstract Art
  • Genre: abstract
  • Media: oil

Although modest in size, Abstract Composition, 1934 is exemplary of Jean Hélion’s personal abstract style of the 1930s in which characteristically linked planes are arrayed across the canvas. The rhythm of the forms, both in their subtle colour relationships and their contrasts of vertical and horizontal orientation, is critical to the harmony of the composition. A dynamic energy is generated by the play of curved and straight edges, with a notable swinging movement created in the lower right half. Alongside those with flat colours, three planes (in grey, blue and green, arrayed bottom left to top right) have modulated shading to suggest outward curvature. A sense of shallow space is maintained by allowing the forms to float in front of a neutral plane and there is an implication of gravity in the way that they are weighted towards the base of the composition. All of these qualities found a more complex resolution, on a larger scale, in the slightly later painting Ile de France, 1935. (Matthew Gale)

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