Second lives of their Primes. New Acquisitions.

- 14 January 2022 - 27 May 2022

The Vasarely Museum in Óbuda, which can be visited again from mid-January, opens with the freshly re-invented and rearranged works of the permanent exhibition and with a new temporary exhibition entitled The Second Lives of their Primes. New acquisitions. The new temporary exhibition relates to the unique but very welcome event in the history of the museum. For the first time recently, the collection of the institution that preserved the gift of Victor Vasarely in 1982 was considerably enhanced by major donations. More than 100 works were offered independently by one of the artist’s collectors, a former collaborator and a close friend to the museum, which is located at Zichy Castle in Óbuda since 1987. The current exhibition focuses on two groups of valuable objects, the donation of Robert Zussau and that of Bruno Fabre both from France. In addition to the works of Victor Vasarely, the works offered include works of his son Jean-Pierre Vasarely (also known as Yvaral).


Robert Zussau (1930–2020) first met Victor Vasarely through the gallery owner Denise René, and for almost thirty years, beginning in the mid-1960s, he worked as an assistant to the Hungarian-born artist. Through his former workplace, Gold et Lebey, he began to collaborate with Vasarely on his series of serigraph reproductions on aluminium. These works were executed so well that Vasarely then entrusted Zussau with the task of reproducing his three-dimensional Multiples. Zussau participated in the production of the screen-printed spatial objects on aluminium (including, for example, the piece entitled Kroa) that were sold in limited editions from 1966 onwards at the Galerie Denise René, which opened a showroom at 196 Boulevard Saint-Germain. Following on from this, Vasarely placed Zussau in charge of the screen-printing workshop at his studio. The artist’s compositions were produced at the Société Silium in Paris. The first serigraph made with Zussau’s collaboration was Sorbonne, released in 1973, and their working relationship lasted until 1990. Zussau supervised the reproduction of more than two hundred different Vasarely compositions, including the serigraph albums Microcosmos (1979) and Helios-1 (1981), issued by the Nicolas Hélion publishing house. He also took part in the creation of Vasarely’s threedimensional Multiples on wood, some of which, thanks to their playful combinations of colour and form, were conceived in a spirit of decorative art that shares similarities with Hungarian folk art. Robert Zussau not only worked with Vasarely but also with the artist’s son, Jean-Pierre (pseudonym Yvaral). The twenty-six serigraphs donated to the Vasarely Museum in 2018, nineteen of which were created by Yvaral, are tangible proof of their collaboration and friendship.

Bruno Fabre (born 1973) is a representative of a later generation who never knew Vasarely in person. Almost a decade ago, he began to purchase works of art, later giving up his career to dedicate himself to studying Vasarely’s life. In a short space of time, he has built up one of the most extensive private collections of works by the artist. Few collectors pursue the oeuvre of their chosen artist with such an unquenchable obsession, accumulating a wealth of material knowledge along the way that puts even the best-informed art historical experts on the subject in the shade. Bruno Fabre is a member of this elite community. His collection covers every period of Vasarely’s oeuvre, the most outstanding of which are the Multiples featuring all the techniques the artist ever used. A few years ago, Fabre contacted the Budapest centre of Victor Vasarely’s legacy to enrich the museum’s collection with thirty valuable objects by the artist.

The exhibition of new acquisitions is more than an opportunity to showcase our new treasures, as the pictures on display also convey a message; they represent a kind of value judgment. They stand as a testament to the trust and commitment placed in the Vasarely Museum by certain generous philanthropists who have spent their lives in close proximity to works by the Hungarian-born artist. Their donations to our public collection are clear evidence of their conviction that the most worthy location for preserving Victor Vasarely’s legacy and spirit is the eponymous museum in Óbuda, which operates as an affiliate of the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest

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