Oil on canvas
Framed: 129.5 x 84.8 x 7.6 cm (51 x 33 3/8 x 3 in.); Unframed: 111.7 x 68.6 cm (44 x 27 in.); Former: 129.9 x 84.8 x 6.5 cm (51 1/8 x 33 3/8 x 2 9/16 in.)
Contemporary Collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art 1969.51
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
While studying in Vienna, Kupka became interested in applying musical theory to painting. Here he creates a "fugue" by using repetitive shapes. In music, a fugue is a composition in which a theme repeats in complex patterns—think of a conversation in which one idea is brought up over and over in different ways.
This painting is a culminating work in a series that preoccupied Kupka from 1909 to 1912. The theme was inspired by a drawing of his stepdaughter running with a ball. The tilted head, outstretched arms, and multiple outlines of the legs trace the child's movement over time. Kupka aimed at infusing Cubism with color and dynamic movement. He created some of the first completely abstract paintings in the history of art.
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