An American painter, Rudolf de Crignis was best known for radiant abstract works, layered hues of blue that he called "catalysts to create the space and the light."
Born in 1948 in Winterthur, Switzerland, de Crignis studied at the Form und Farbe School for Art and Media Design, Zürich. In 1976, he exhibited in the Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. His work has been exhibited in a range of venues, including Kunsthalle Winterthur, Artothek, Cologne, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Swiss National Library, Bern, Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, and Berkeley Art Museum. His works are in numerous public collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Harvard University Art Museums, Boston, MA; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Berkeley Art Museum, CA; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; and Kolumba, Cologne, Germany.
During the mid-1990s, de Crignis abandoned his long-standing interest in the organic or figurative qualities of his subjects in favor of a reduced, geometric style. In this period, his works became more meditative and the color became denser and darker in tone. These works were the result of a disciplined procedure of the artist layering thin oil washes in accumulation. Often square, each piece at first appeared all blue or all gray with deeply color-saturated surfaces, but, in fact, They were tinted with secondary hues to create an illusory experience of color "aura."
Featured image: Rudolf de Crignis - #95021, 1995 (detail). Graphite pencil on museum board. 16 × 16 in. 40.6 × 40.6 cm. Photo courtesy Bartha Contemporary