Victor Vasarely

(1908 - 1997)
Victor Vasarely Taïmyr 1958 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017.


Born in Hungary, Vasarely studied in Budapest and settled in Paris in 1930. He worked as a commercial artist in 1940, during which time he became interested in visual effects and illusions, extending his exploration of this to painting in 1943. Around 1947, Vasarely began painting the geometrical abstractions, with which he is associated. Initially he drew inspiration from the cracked tiles he looked at every day, while waiting for the underground train in Paris. Vasarely is known as the father of Op Art, a style incorporating optical effects to create a sense of movement.

Glossary terms

  • A movement originating in the 1960s that used strongly contrasting abstract patterns, colours and forms to stimulate the eye. The term is an abbreviation of ‘optical art’. Exponents include Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely.