Victor Vasarely was born in Hungary in 1906, he left Hungary and settled in Paris in 1930 working as a graphic artist and as a creative consultant at the advertising agencies Havas, Draeger and Devambez. He became a graphics designer and a poster artist during the 1930’s who combined patterns and organic images with each other.
In 1970, Vasarely opened his first dedicated museum with over 500 works in a renaissance palace in Gordes, Vaucluse (closed in 1996). A second major undertaking was the Vasarely Foundation in Aix en Provence, a museum housed in a distinct structure specially designed by Vasarely. It was inaugurated in 1976 by French president Giscard d'Estaing. Sadly the museum is now in a state of disrepair, several of the pieces on display have been damaged by water leaking from the ceiling.
He died in Paris in 1997 while his family got engulfed in a big feud about his inheritance and legacy who even involved the ex-dean of the Law School of Aix, Charles Debbasch. Considered as the father of the Op-Art, Vasarely developed his style of geometric abstract art. His works won him international renown as they received 4 prestigious prizes and he became a very expensive painter.
Sotheby's New York was holding a contemporary and modern sales in November 2008 that offered one Vasarely known as Vega-Tek, a tempera on canvas (139.1 by 139.1 cm.) signed, titled and dated 1968 on the reverse and owned by Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. The estimate indicated a target price of $ 120,000 to 180,000 and at the auction the picture went for only 122,500 dollars.
I have recently seen small paintings by Vasarely in the grand mansion Longue Vue in New Orleans owned by the immensely rich Stern family . It had several Vasarelys hanging on the wall in an Art room in an air of abandonment. The people who were visiting the house with us did not noticed or ignored who Vasarely was and our guide just skipped the subject, probably because he was afraid to tell people that over one millon dollars of abstract art were looking at them. When I told my wife that they were Vasarelys and probably worth a fortune, the guide rushed us out of the room with a very weary look. I couldn't avoid thinking it was bizarre considering the judicial affairs that have engulfed the Vasarely family since the death of the artist.
Having said that I am surprised that this Vega-Tex did not go for more. It is a beautiful Op-art piece and probably a very good investment.