The influential and pioneering gallery owner Denise René has died aged 99.
René was an extremely important figure in the world of abstract art (including Op Art). She was putting on shows for artists like Piet Mondrian, Kasimir Malevich and Victor Vasarely at a time when other curators were dismissing their works and refusing to display them or take them seriously.
Her decision to put on an exhibition of Vasarely’s work in 1944 and the show’s subsequent success was a key factor in Vasarely’s decision to quit his commercial graphic design job and pursue art full time.
In 1965 the famous landmark Op Art exhibition the ‘Responsive Eye’ owes much to Denise René. The curator of the exhibition (William Seitz) asked René for her help in assembling the pieces for the show. Her incredible knowledge and understanding of which pieces and artists should be exhibited made the Responsive Eye the runaway success it was.
In view of the above and for numerous other reasons, it could be argued that René was essential to the development of the Op Art movement.
You can read a more detailed obituary here.