Accords, Amédée Ozenfant

Amédée Ozenfant (French, 1886–1966) 

Accords, 1922 

Oil on canvas 

Gift of John Gregg Allerton, 1967 (3478.1) 

At the close of World War I, Amédée Ozenfant met the Swiss painter and architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (later known as Le Corbusier), and together they developed Purism. Conceived as an ordering system based on classical proportion and modeled after technological standardization, this new art form was designed to give structure to synthetic Cubism, then perceived as a scattershot style with no clear trajectory or focus. It was also devised in direct opposition to Dada, whose use of humor and chance as powerful strategies of subversion was denounced by the Purists as a destructive obstacle to their agenda. 

In Accords, Ozenfant has siphoned all individualizing flourishes from the bottles, glasses, guitars, and pitchers associated with the Cubist visual vocabulary, and he has rendered these objects in terms of the circles, cylinders, spheres, and cones on which they are fundamentally based. Interpreting ordinary things as multiple iterations of essential geometric forms, Ozenfant has subordinated a complex interlace of vessels and volumes to its Platonic ideal.