On View: European Art Galleries, 5th floor
This canvas dates from around the time that Jean Hélion, a leading proponent of abstraction in the 1930s, began to coalesce his arrangements of colored shapes and gradated volumes into more explicitly figurative representations. Composition evokes some of the subjects that would soon preoccupy him: bust-length, suited men wearing brimmed hats, viewed from the front, back, or in profile. Hélion said of his figural and abstract pictorial modes: “They are the same thing, or nearly. Planes, volumes, spaces. Strong colors, fine tones, the rhythms of all nature. You can even, if you like, mix my figures and my abstractions
Oil on masonite
Verso: "HAUT/Hélion/17 Jan. 39/(Va)"
Gift of Lucile E. Selz
© artist or artist's estate
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Jean Hélion (French, 1904-1987). Composition, 1939. Oil on masonite, 15 x 11 in. (38.1 x 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Lucile E. Selz, 1991.283.2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1991.283.2_PS9.jpg)
overall, 1991.283.2_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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