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Victor Brauner



Brauner Victor

(b Piatra Neamt, Moldavia, 15 June 1903; d Paris, 12 March 1966).
Romanian painter, sculptor and draughtsman, active in France. As a child, he shared his father’s passionate interest in spiritualism, heralding a lasting preoccupation with the occult. In 1912 he accompanied his family to Vienna, and from 1916 to 1918 attended the evangelical school at Braila, near Galati, studying zoology with great enthusiasm; he also started to paint. In 1921 he spent a brief period at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where his first exhibition was held in 1924 at the Galerie Mozart. The same year, Brauner and the poet Ilarie Voronca founded the review 75HP, in which he published his manifesto of ‘Pictopoésie’ and an article on ‘Le Surrationalisme’. From 1928 until 1931 he worked with the Dada and Surrealist review UNU, which reproduced his drawings and paintings. Settling in Paris in 1930, he met Constantin Brancusi, who introduced him to photography, and Yves Tanguy, through whom he met the major Surrealists. He lived in the same building as Tanguy and Alberto Giacometti. His premonitory Self-portrait with Enucleated Eye (1931; Paris, priv. col.) became a cause célèbre for the Surrealists, whom he joined officially in 1932. André Breton wrote the introduction for his first one-man show at the Galerie Pierre in 1934, the year of Monsieur K’s Power of Concentration (Paris, priv. col.) and the Strange Case of Monsieur K (priv. col.), departures from Brauner’s earlier work and reminiscent of Alfred Jarry’s Père Ubu. Returning to Bucharest briefly in 1935, he joined the clandestine Romanian Communist Party but left in 1936 at the beginning of the Soviet show trials.


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