• Artist: Serge Poliakoff
  • Creation date: 1953
  • Object type: Painting

Not on display


Serge Poliakoff was born in Moscow and began to train as an artist there. In 1917 he left his home country, however, and after a while he settled in Paris. He continued his training as an artist there, while making a living as a guitarist. He lived for a while in London, before moving back to Paris, where in the late 1930s he became acquainted with Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delauny, and the sculptor Otto Freundlich. It was at this time that he began painting his first abstract pictures. He was awarded the Kandinsky Prize in 1947, but it was not until 1952 that he could live off his art in earnest.

Poliakoff went through an experimental phase after the Second World War, and was regarded as part of the abstract avant-garde, before adhering to a more subdued form of modernism in the 1960s. Interested in the relationship between line and surface, form and content, and light and colour, he gradually developed a highly personal form of abstract painting that juxtaposed diverse fields of colour. In the 1940s he preferred shades of brown and grey, before expanding his palette after 1950 to also include brighter, contrasting colours. He abandoned such colours in his later works, where he again cultivated the more monochromatic earth tones. In the 1960s he was regarded as one of the most radical modernists.

Composition contrasts red with green, and yellow with a bluish black, while areas of white shine brightly towards the viewer. Round shapes are combined with sharper, more jagged forms in an exciting, complex concentration of vibrating colours, texture, and precisely arranged shapes balanced within a controlled, energetic totality.

Text: Marianne Yvenes

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Serge Poliakoff

Visual artist

Born 1900 in Russland, death 1969

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Komposisjon (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Width: 89 cm
  • Height: 117 cm
Gave fra Nasjonalgalleriets Venner 1958
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Larsen, Frode
© Poliakoff, Serge/BONO