Victor Brauner


Victor Brauner Biography


Victor Brauner grew up in a small town in Romania. His father, a passionate devotee of Spiritualism, regularly organized séances and corresponded with the famous mediums of the day. As an observer and participant, young Victor acquired a taste for the fantastic, which his art distinctly reflects. In 1930, Brauner settled in Paris, where he joined the Surrealist group in 1933. The subjects of his paintings of that period seem either to derive from the occult or to be rooted in private myths. They include bizarre creatures with huge totemic heads attached to plants or to the bodies of animals or human beings, and sprouting snakes, wings, and other forms.

In 1948, after he broke with the Surrealists, Brauner's work was more inspired by relics of archaic and primitive civilizations. Visitors to his studio in the Montmartre section of Paris often commented on his collection of primitive art, which comprised Oceanic cult objects as well as Native American artifacts. Gradually, his imagery became more heraldic, stark, and simplified, often evoking Egyptian or Pre-Columbian art.

Brauner perfected his oeuvre during his last decades when he synthesized surrealist genres and his lexicon of multicultural symbols into a modernist style.  Brauner attended the School of Fine Arts, Bucharest and published the Dadaist review 75 HP.  Moving to Paris brought Brauner into contact with the Surrealists.  His flight from Nazi persecution produced incised, encaustic works likened to Lascaux cave paintings.  From the ’50s, when Brauner exhibited in New York and at the Venice Biennale and resettled in Normandy, his aesthetic resolution of oneness and otherness transpired.  “Each painting that I make is projected from the deepest sources of my anxiety,” Brauner said.  Permanent collections include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and The Museum of Modern Art.