Victor-Brauner

Victor Brauner (1903-1966)



Biography

Born June 15, 1903 in Piatra Neamț, Romania, Victor Brauner moved to Bucharest in 1918. In Bucharest he studied at The National School of Fine Arts (Școala Națională de Arte Frumoase). The first exhibition of his works was organised in 1924 in Bucharest. His work was influenced by Dadaism and draws its sources from the spiritism séances organised by his father, which he observed as a child. In the mid-1920s, he founded the review 75 HP with the Romanian poet Ilaric Voronca, in which he published poems and drawings. He also theorised the ‘picto-poésie’ concept, a language halfway between painting and poetry.
In the early 1930s, he moved to Paris like so many Romanian artists and intellectuals (Constantin Brancusi, Eugène Ionesco, Mircea Eliade, Panaït Istrati and Emil Cioran). André Breton was especially interested in Brauner’s surrealist work. In 1934, Brauner had his first exhibition in Paris at Galerie Pierre; the catalogue was prefaced by a favourable introduction by the Surrealist leader André Breton himself. Brauner returned to Romania from 1935 until 1938, thereafter returning to France permanently. In his fantastic and surrealist works of the early 1930s, it is not rare to see people with absent or punctured eyes. Several years later, in 1938, he lost his own eye in an altercation. In light of this grim loss those early paintings seem to be premonitions.
When war broke out in 1939 the Jewish painter had to flee Paris. In 1940, he took refuge in the hometown of poet Robert Rius, near Perpignan. It is during this period that he began to create paintings in wax, because he did not have the money to buy art materials. He ‘painted’ multiple canvases using this technique: Espaces psychologiques, La Ville, Devenir non devenant (1943), Analogie animale (1945), Triomphe du doute and Motan de Lune (1946).
In 1947, he exhibited his Loup-table at the International Surrealist Exhibition at Galerie Maeght. His canvases became more sombre. In 1965, Brauner represented France at the Venice Biennale. He died in Paris March 12, 1966. His tombstone reads: ‘Painting is life, real life, my life’.

(Pauline Le Gall)

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Exhibitions/Bibliography

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Press review

https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/681
https://theculturetrip.com/europe/romania/articles/victor-brauner-the-great-romanian-surrealist/
http://basmofilia.ro/en/2015/06/22/romanian-victor-brauner-s-surrealist-bestiary/
http://www.newsoftheartworld.com/episode-3-douanier-rousseau-between-dream-and-reality/?lang=en
http://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/exhibitions/from-dada-to-surrealism/bucharest
https://www.fondation-hermitage.ch/en/exhibitions/former/2016/

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