b. 1915, La Plata, Argentina
d. 2014, Paris
Born to an Italian family in 1915 in La Plata, a province of Buenos Aires, Luis Tomasello's first work experience was with his father, a bricklayer, carpenter, and painter. As a teenager, he began his artistic studies by taking evening drawing classes before joining the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón in Buenos Aires from 1932 to 1938. Two years later, he enrolled at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Ernesto de la Cárcova, where he studied until 1944. In the mid-1940s, young artists in Buenos Aires were challenging representational traditions in art; Tomasello met painters Emilio Pettoruti and Carmelo Arden Quin during this time, two important figures in the Argentine avant-garde.
Over the last 50 years, Tomasello developed a visual language that expresses movement through visual effects. By attaching angled cubes or pegs to create a repetitive pattern on a flat wood panel, the artist explored non-pictorial ways of imbuing an object with active surface play. Tomasello explored the optical effects that shapes and colors produce on the viewer.
After traveling to Europe in the early fifties, Tomasello finally settled in Paris in 1957, joining a large and dynamic expatriate community of Latin American artists. Having already grown familiar with Constructivism and the Bauhaus during his student days, Luis Tomasello discovered the work of Piet Mondrian while in Paris. After initially integrating typical elements of the Dutch artist's work into his own, such as the orthogonal grid, the square, and a reduced palette, he was soon to move on from these forms of representation. In Paris, Tomasello exhibited with a group of artists whose research took them from constructivist abstraction to Kinetic Art, an art form founded on the optical illusion of movement and its effect on the viewer. He was represented by the famous avant-garde Galerie Denise René and showed at numerous national and international exhibitions of Op-Art, including the landmark show 'La Lumière et le Mouvement' (1967).
Tomasello was particularly known for his “Atmosphères chromoplastiques” in which he placed white cubes on a white background, creating an engaging optical effect of play of light and shadows. As well as exhibiting extensively internationally, Tomasello completed numerous large-scale public art commissions in Argentina, France, Mexico, and the United States.