REGARDED AS THE FOUNDER of Op Art, Victor Vasarely was born in Hungary and educated there in the national equivalent of the Bauhaus. There he was exposed to the most advanced art of that era, chiefly Cubism and Constructivism, and especially advanced theories of color and design. Vasarely produced art in an Op spirit as early as 1929, painting the alternating black and white stripes of a zebra.
While he worked in advertising and commercial design for a living, Vasarely continued to make his own art and develop his signature style. He finally gained fame in the 60’s, the period in which the Op style became widespread. The advent of Vasareley’s artistic recognition coincided with the use of the term Op to describe it and he is normally regarded as the founder of this movement.
Vasarely’s particular preoccupation with squares and cubes is said to have been inspired by the cubic houses of Gordes, a historic mountain-top village in Provence. His work is especially kinetic in appearance, as his technique of modulating light and dark values in his chosen palette prompts the viewer to perceive forms as swelling or diminishing in space.