Amédée Ozenfant (1886-1966)


Amédée Ozenfant was a French cubist painter and writer, responsible for founding the 20th century art movement Purism with Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (known as Le Corbusier). Together they set out the theory behind Purism in the 1918 publication Apres le Cubisme. The manifesto emphasised the purity of the geometric and simplified forms that made up mechanical and technological subject-matter. Purism was formed as a rejection of Cubism in that it urged for the return to recognisable forms.

Born in 1886 in Saint-Quentin, France, Ozenfant began his career attending L'École Municipale de Dessin Quentin-La Tour in his hometown, before moving to Paris around 1907 to study architecture and painting at the Académie de la Palette. Here he befriended artist Roger de La Fresnaye and his artistic style became more abstract as he explored the importance of colour. Ozenfant was greatly influenced by Futurism and Neo-Impressionism and was a great admirer of the work of Paul Signac with their bold colours, brightness and harmony. Ozenfant's first solo exhibition was held at the Salon de la Nationale in Paris in 1908. Two years later, he contributed works to the Salon d'Automne. From 1909 until 1913, Ozenfant took trips across Russia, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands while also attending the Collège de France in Paris.

As well as the creation of Purism, Ozenfant founded the magazine L'Elan which he edited from 1915-1917. Ozenfant began to teach in 1929 and three years later founded the Académie Ozenfant in Paris. He later moved to London where he operated began the Ozenfant Academy until 1938 when he moved to New York and established the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts until 1955. He then returned to France where he died in 1966.

His works are including in major public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Tate Gallery in London.