(1903 - 1966)
Piatra Neamtz, Romania
- Self-portrait with Enucleated Eye (1931)
- Fascination (1939)
- Prelude to a Civilization (1954)
Born and raised in Romania, Victor Brauner spent most of his career in France. His father practiced spiritualism when Brauner was a child, and Brauner, too, was interested in occult practices and unconventional religions. Brauner started his career as a painter and sculptor in his native Romania, where he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest and even had a solo exhibition at the Galerie Mozart. A move to Paris in 1930 brought him into contact with fellow countryman Constantin Brancusi, who introduced him to several members of the Surrealist movement, including Yves Tanguy. Brauner joined the movement in 1933 and subsequently exhibited at Galerie Pierre. While he worked in several styles throughout his career, Brauner's trademark was free flowing shapes and forms. These hallucinatory shapes included animals, genitals, birds, and people enacting unlikely scenes of a highly absurd nature, representations of the mysterious world of Brauner's imagination. This illogical approach included Brauner's sympathy to the magical. For several years he repeatedly explored the image of bloodied and mutilated eyes. In 1938 in a bar fight the artist lost his left eye, displaying an uncannily prophetic sensibility. The outcome of Brauner's work was an unconstrained access to the subconscious. This unpredictable and chaotic style became overwhelmingly popular, and Brauner represented France at the Venice Biennale in 1966.