Happy Birthday, Victor Vasarely

Happy Birthday, Victor Vasarely

The Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (born: Gyözö Vásárhelyi ) would have turned 111 today. Born in Pecs, Hungary, in 1908, Vasarely began his artistic training in Budapest in the late 1920s. In 1928, he studied the concepts of the Bauhaus working under Sandor Bortnyk at the Mühely Art School. Vasarely moved to Paris in 1930 and became an independent graphic designer. His early work was characterized by strong black and white contrasts. In the late 1940s, Vasarely developed his own geometric abstract style exploiting the deception of the human eye using forms of geometry and color nuances to trigger striking spatial effects. This led to the formulation of the principles of the short-lived Op Art movement in the early 1950s for which Vasarely is probably best known. In 1970, Vasarely opened the first museum dedicated to his art in Gordes, France (it closed in 1996). In 1976, he founded the Fondation Vasarely in Aix-en-Provence (housed in a building designed by Vasarely). In 1976, the Vasarely Museum was established in the artist’s birth-town of Pécs. A second museum in Zichy Palace in Budapest followed in 1987. Victor Vasarely died in Paris on March 15, 1997.

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Today in History: The first modern Olympics open in Athens in 1896

Today in History: The first modern Olympics open in Athens in 1896

123 years ago today, 241 athletes from 14 countries took part in the first modern Olympiad in Athens, Greece. The event took place over 1500 years after the last ancient Olympic Games, which originated in Olympia in south-western Greece.

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Today in History: Josef Albers born in 1888

Today in History: Josef Albers born in 1888

Josef Albers (1888-1976) was one of the leading artists, and art and design educators of the 20th century. Born in Germany, Albers studied in Berlin, Essen and Munich before he became a student at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1920. Albers stayed on a teacher (and later director) when the Bauhaus first moved to Dessau and then to Berlin. In the fall of 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States where he held academic posts at Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1933-1949) and Yale University (1950-1960). Among his most famous works is a series of paintings titled “Homage to the Square” (created during the 1950s). In 1963, he published the influential book “Interaction of Color” which explored his ideas on color relationships. Albers’ theories about art and color became important influences on generations of artists and design students. Albers died in New Haven in 1976.

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Today in History: First Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924

Today in History: First Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924

The concept of Winter Olympic Games was first introduced in 1924. Following the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress decided that France, host of the 1924 summer games, should conduct a separate event for winter sports that same year. The French spa town of Chamonix was chosen to host what was named the “International Winter Sports Week” – the event actually lasted 11 days. The original sports were alpine and cross country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating. In 1925, the IOC officially created separate Olympic Winter Games and the 1924 Games in Chamonix were retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.

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Today in History: Salvador Dali died in 1989

Today in History: Salvador Dali died in 1989

30 years ago today, the prominent Spanish surralist painter Salvador Dali passed away in Figueres, Spain.

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Today in History: 1st Official Basketball Game in 1892

Today in History: 1st Official Basketball Game in 1892

On January 20, 1892, the first official game of basketball was played at a YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York. The game was created a month earlier by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith wrote the sport’s original 13 rules to create a game that could be played in YMCA gyms during the cold winter months. Initially, teams were made up of nine players attempting to toss a soccer ball into peach baskets secured to the balconies at the ends of a gymnasium. When a basket was made, the game was paused while a man with a ladder had to retrieve the ball. Following the first public matches in 1892, popularity of the new game spread quickly. The first intercollegiate match was played in 1895 and the first professional league was founded in 1898. Nets did not replace the sport’s original peach baskets until 1905.

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Today in History: Basketball was invented in 1891

Today in History: Basketball was invented in 1891

127 years ago today, the game of basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith wrote the sport’s original 13 rules to create a game that could be played in YMCA gyms during the cold winter months. Initially, teams were made up of nine players attempting to toss a soccer ball into peach baskets secured to the balconies at the ends of a gymnasium. When a basket was made, the game was paused while a man with a ladder had to retrieve the ball. Following the first public matches in 1892, popularity of the new game spread quickly. The first intercollegiate match was played in 1895 and the first professional league was founded in 1898.  Nets did not replace the sport’s original peach baskets until 1905.

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