Victor Brauner (Romanian, 1903–1966) is known for his mix of Expressionist and Surrealist styles. He was born and raised in Romania, and received his artistic training at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest. Landscape compositions served as the foundation for Brauner’s style, but a shift toward Expressionism became evident as the artist continued to mature. In 1925, he visited Paris and was presumably drawn by the depth of artistic influence to be found in the city, and moved there a few short years later in 1930.

It was in Paris that Brauner formed a friendship with Constantin Brancusi due to their shared Romanian roots. Brancusi introduced him to Alberto Giacometti and Yves Tanguy, who persuaded him to join the Surrealist group in 1933. Brauner’s stint with Surrealism saw the creation of compositions consisting of creatures seemingly inspired by autobiographical myths and tales. He is best known for his drawings and two-dimensional compositions that emerged during this period, as well as his frequent use of encaustic, a technique incorporating wax into paint.

During World War II, the artist left Paris to travel around France, which might have been one of the leading causes of his continuously transforming style. Not long after he returned to Paris, Brauner was expelled from the Surrealist group by André Breton in 1947. He began experimenting in other genres, and completely broke away from Surrealism by 1948, choosing to return to more primitive and personal themes in his work.

Brauner continued to develop his unique style, and it became increasingly more avant-garde and reflective of his Romanian roots. He had the honor of representing France in the Venice Biennale in 1966 before he died that same year.

Timeline

1903
Born on June 15 in Piatra-Neamt, Romania
1916–1918
Evangelical school in Braïla
1921
Briefly attended the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where he painted Cézannesque landscapes
1924
First solo show at the Galerie Mozart in Bucharest
1925
Went to Paris but returned to Bucharest approximately a year later
1929
Associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist review UNU
1930
Settled in Paris and became a friend of his compatriot Constantin Brancusi
1933
Met Yves Tanguy, who introduced him to the Surrealists
1934
André Breton wrote an enthusiastic introduction to the catalogue for Brauner’s first Parisian solo show at the Galerie Pierre
1935
Returned to Bucharest, where he remained until 1938
1945
Returned to Paris
1947
Included in the Exposition internationale du surréalisme at the Galerie Maeght in Paris
1954
Work was shown at the Venice Biennale
1966
Died on March 12 in Paris, France
Helped found the Dadaist review 75 HP in Bucharest

Exhibitions

2008
Traces du Sacré - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2007
Peggy Guggenheim E L’immaginario Surreale - Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
2007
Merveilleux! D´après nature - Château de Malbrouck , Manderen
2007
Ateliers - L'artistes et ses lieux de création - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2007
International & Australian Works on Paper - Josef Lebovic Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2006
Was ist Plastik? 100 Jahre - 100 Köpfe- Das Jahrhundert moderner Skulptur - Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum • Center of International Sculpture, Duisburg
2006
Da Monet a Boltanski - Fondazione Magnani - Rocca, Parma
2006
Nomaden im Kunstsalon - Begegnungen mit der Moderne von Bayer bis Sol LeWitt - Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz
2006
La collection permanente - Musée d'Art moderne de Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne
2005
Looking at Words - Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City, NY
2005
(my private) Heroes - MARTa Herford, Herford
2005
Invisible Revealed: Surrealist Drawings from the Drukier Collection - Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS
2004
The Invisible Revealed: Surrealist Drawings from the Drukier Collection - The Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, OH
2004
Munch, Nolde, Beckmann... Private Kunstschätze aus Süddeutschland - Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart
2003
"Künstlerphotographien - Berühmte Photographen portraitieren berühmte Künstler" - Galerie Pudelko, Bonn
2003
"Phantom der Lust. Visionen des Masochismus in der Kunst" - Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
2003
Accrochage des artistes de la galerie (modernes et contemporains) - Galerie Di Meo, Paris
2003
Arbeiten auf Papier - Galerie Dreiseitel, Cologne
2003
Victor Brauner (1903–1966) - Ubu Gallery, New York City, NY (solo)
2002
Exemplum del disegno europeo del Novecento - Galleria Open Art, Prato
2002
La Culture Pour Vivre - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2002
La part de l'autre - Carré d´art - Musée d´art contemporain de Nîmes, Nîmes
2002
La Révolution surréaliste - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2002
Behind the Surrealist Curtain: Sex, Sensuality and Silence - Ubu Gallery, New York City, NY
2002
Past exhibitions at Ubu Gallery: VICTOR BRAUNER (1903 – 1966) October 16, 2003 – January 17, 2004
2001
Sade surreal - Der Marquis de Sade und die erotische Fantasie des Surrealismus - Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich
2001
De Artaud ... à Twombly - Centre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris
2001
Desene 1925 - 1962 - The National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest (solo)
1999
Dau al Set - Museu d´Art Contemporani de Barcelona - MACBA, Barcelona
1998
Rumanian Avant-Garde, 1916–1947 - Ubu Gallery, New York City, NY
1996
By Night - Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris
1995
46th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale / Biennale di Venezia - La Biennale di Venezia, Venice
1994
Hantises - Galerie Guy Bärtschi, Geneva
1989
Open Mind (Gesloten Circuits) - SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent
1965
Personal Choice: Paintings and Sculpture from Houston Private Collections - Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX
1959
documenta 2 - Documenta, Kassel
1958
Personal Contacts: A Decade of Contemporary Drawings, 1948–1958 - Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX
1958
The Disquieting Muse: Surrealism - Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX