Victor Brauner: Fascination

One  of  the  most  enigmatic  Surrealist  painter  was  Victor  Brauner.  Al- though he worked mainly in France, Victor Brauner,  a Surrealist painter and sculptor, was born and raised in Romania, where he studied at the School  of Fine Arts in Bucharest. In 1924 his first one-man show was presented at Bu- charest’s Galerie  Mozart.  He  moved  to  Paris  in  1930  where,  through  the sculptor Constantin Brâncusi (a fellow-Romanian), he met the painter Yves Tanguy who introduced him to other  members  of the Surrealist movement. The Surrealists were departing not only from the realism and academicism of nineteenth-century art but also from tendencies  toward painterly abstraction of the early modernists. Partly under the influence of contemporary psychol- ogy, they  sought  unexpected  juxtapositions   of  sharply  depicted  figurative images, often recalling  the landscapes of dreams. In 1934, André Breton, the leader of the Surrealist movement, wrote the introduction to the catalogue for Brauner’s exhibition at the Galerie Pier.His work shows the influence of the other Surrealists, but the modernists, such as Picasso and Klee, also, decidedly influenced him. With the advent of World War Two, Brauner left Paris and settled first in the Pyrenees and then in the Alps, where in the absence of painting materials he worked in  collage. He  was  included  in  the  Exposition  internationale   du  surréalisme  at  the Galerie  Maeght  in Paris  in  1947.  His  post-war  painting  incorporated  forms and  symbols  based  on  Tarot  cards,  Egyptian  hieroglyphics,  and  antique Mexican codices. He continued  to work in a Surrealist style,  despite having been  officially expelled  from  the  Surrealists  by  Breton.  Beginning  in  the early 1960’s,  Brauner  lived  and worked in Varengeville, France;  he  repre- sented France at the Venice Biennale in 1966, the year he died.

Fascination Victor Brauner

Fascination Victor Brauner

Fascination is one of his best known works. Muted browns and ochre tones decorate a Spartan room with a table —part furniture, part wolf – at which a featureless naked lady sits nonchalantly as if calmly waiting for a meal to be served. Her hair curls up and forms a bird with a swan-like neck which vi- ciously confronts the wolf’s head growing out of the table. His tale and geni- tals are at the other end. Brauner produced  a series of paintings such as this, inhabited  by strange hybrids  of women, animals and objects.  These absurd, hallucinatory  fantasies spring from the enigmatic world of Surrealist  art, in which the  visual  imagination  is  freed  from  the  constraints  of  reason  and logic.  The Surrealists vision  aimed  to  harness  the  unconscious  to  produce revelatory, stimulating images.

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