Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ozenfant, Amédée

The Vases
Oil on canvas
130.5 x 97.5 cm (51 3/8 x 38 3/8")
MoMA, New York

"We must endeavour to introduce a little order into this business, or at least sense into a great deal of it. But what is sense without order? We must try to find some method of arriving at some sort of order—one that will at least enable us to escape from this vagueness in the design of color." (Ozenfant)

Amédée Ozenfant,  (1886 - 1966), French painter and theoretician, who cofounded the 20th-century art movement known as Purism.
He was born into a bourgeois family in Saint-Quentin, Aisne and studied art in France at Saint-Quentin before moving to Paris in 1905. By 1917 Ozenfant was disillusioned with Cubism, feeling that it had sacrificed its original purity and rigour and had become a mere decorative vehicle. He formulated and published a book—Après le Cubisme (1918; “After Cubism”)—in which he outlined the aesthetic approach called Purism. Emphasizing the principles of order, rationality, and precision, the Purist style called for a new Classicism based upon the aesthetic of modern technology. In Ozenfant’s own paintings, he stressed clarity, serenity, and economy of means, typically creating still lifes in which he reduced objects to flat planes of neutral color within a rigid architectonic framework.

In 1919 Ozenfant and Le Corbusier founded the avant-garde review L’Esprit Nouveau, in which they explored the sources and directions of contemporary art. In 1932 Ozenfant established his own art school in Paris, Académie Ozenfant. He moved to London in 1935 and founded the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts. In 1939 he moved to New York City, where he served as the head of the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts until he returned to France in 1955.