After fleeing Russia at age 18 in the wake of the Revolution and arriving in Paris, Serge Poliakoff studied music before turning his attention to painting. By the 1930s, he became friends with Wassily Kandinsky and Robert and Sonia Delaunay, other artists for whom unusual color contrasts were key to their artistic expression. In 1945, Poliakoff met the industrialist Jean Bauret, who was immediately attracted to the artist’s rhythmic sense of line and color. For Bauret, Poliakoff produced over fifty designs for printed furnishing textiles, though few were ultimately produced.
Designed in 1946, this screen-printed furnishing cotton features an imbricated pattern of semi-phallic motifs in a bold palette of primary hues, delineated with black lines. Monumental and bold, Poliakoff’s textiles mirrored his paintings, which also emphasized flat patterning and audacious color, thus acting as works of art rather than mere “décor.”