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Étude No. 1

A work made of oil on pressboard.

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  • A work made of oil on pressboard.




Georges Vantongerloo
Belgian, 1886–1965

About this artwork

Widely considered Georges Vantongerloo’s first abstract painting, Étude No. 1 is the culmination of a series of increasingly complex geometric analyses of a seated female figure. Although difficult to discern within the cascades of overlapping circles, a body starts to emerge when we direct our eyes toward the red triangle at bottom. From this sharply pointed toe, legs and torso ascend, rising up along an axis that is also the physical centerline of the painting. Early critics sometimes faulted Vantongerloo for the draft-like or unfinished appearance of his work from this period, alluded to in the picture’s title. But the artist himself admired and sought out this hazy, lightly painted look, where interlocking solids and voids might suggest bodies in a state of perpetual motion.


On View, Gallery 393


Modern Art


Georges Vantongerloo


Étude No. 1

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on pressboard


55 × 55 cm (21 5/8 × 21 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior bequest of Joseph Winterbotham; partial gift of the Goldberg Family

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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