Artist biographies

Amédée Ozenfant

Amédée Ozenfant (1886-1966) received his first drawing lessons in his native town of Saint-Quentin. In 1905 he moved to Paris to study applied art and painting. He worked for a long time in a Cubist manner. Around 1916 he turned his back on this movement as he considered it had become a purely decorative style that had lost its power. Ozenfant developed a new approach to painting which he called ‘Purism’: an ideal art made up of clear, ordered forms, inspired by machines and modern industrial society. In his own still-lifes he focused on – mechanically produced – jugs, glasses and bottles in sober colour combinations and tautly ordered compositions. Together with the Swiss architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) he published his ideas in 1917, in a book entitled Après le Cubisme. They also organised joint Purist exhibitions and further set out their theories in the journal L’Esprit Nouveau (1920-25) and in books. Ozenfant taught at various art schools which he founded, firstly in Paris, then in London from 1935, and later in New York. In the 1930s he painted allegorical compositions. In 1955 he returned to France where he remained until his death in 1966.

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