TRICOLORE ET GRIS
18 1/4 by 21 5/8 in.
46.4 by 55 cm
Painted in 1918.
Signed Ozenfant (lower right)
Oil on canvas
Galerie Jeanne Castel, Paris
B.C. Holland, Inc., Chicago
Private Collection, Michigan (acquired from above in November 1989)
Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, L'Aventure le Corbusier, 1987
The present work was painted just a year after Ozenfant met the Swiss architect and painter Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier). Together they articulated the doctrines of Purism in their book Après le cubisme which was published in 1918, the same year of the first Purist exhibition held at Galerie Thomas in Paris. Their aim was to steer away from the decorative aspects of Cubism that had become prevalent in painting after 1914 in favor of an art that stressed mathematical order, purity, and logic.
Discussing a work that the artist painted in 1918 on the same theme of the bottle and the pipe, Françoise Ducros stressed that "...the painting confers an astonishing modernity on its general surface through the application of a metallic gray (...) that is enhanced by the white of the pipe and the bottle" (Françoise Ducros, Amédée Ozenfant, Paris, 2002, p. 47) In the present work the smoke coming out of the pipe gives an almost surreal feel to the composition.