Jean Albert Gorin

French, 1899–1981

Untitled, 1967

Oil on plywood relief

28 x 28 inches

Gorin studied at the École de Beaux-Arts and aspired to a teaching career in drawing. He soon began to question the academic principles of the program, however, and became interested in cubism as well as the starkly linear, abstract architecture and design of Le Corbusier. On a 1932 trip to the USSR Gorin studied constructivism and admired the works of Kazimir Malevich. The pivotal moment in Gorin’s career was his introduction to the work of Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesberg. Mondrian became a close friend and mentor, urging the artist to experiment with three-dimensional reliefs. Considering this medium to be the natural progression of painting, Gorin produced a large body of relief work throughout his career.

The present piece exemplifies Gorin’s take on the international style. The relief is turned unexpectedly on a diagonal and is intersected with polychromed planes of wood. The stark white background is heightened by the palette of primary colors. The projecting forms cast shadows and alter the appearance of the work depending on the angle of the viewer. This study of the relationship between color, line, and form achieves a sense of unity and wholeness.