Van Gogh •
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Although 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 Bucharest's Galerie Mozart. He moved to Paris in 1930 where, through the sculptor Constatin Brancusi (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 psychology, they sought unexpected juxtapositions of sharply depicted figurative images, often recalling the landscapes of dreams. In 1934, Andre Breton, the leader of the Surrealist movement, wrote the introduction to the catalogue for Brauner's exhibition at the Galerie Pierre.
Brauner's paintings evince a fascination with wounded eyes, and he depicted scenes drawn from magic and the occult. His work shows the influence of
the other Surrealists, but the modernists, such as Picasso and Klee, also, decidedly influenced him. From 1935 to 1939, he lived in Romania. After his return to Paris he developed a reputation as a clairvoyant when his longstanding preoccupation with wounded eyes became a reality: he had lost an eye during a brawl at a party. 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 both collage and fumage. He returned to Paris after the War and continued to work in a Surrealist style, despite having been officially expelled from the Surrealists by Breton. His best-known work, completed in 1947, is not a painting but a sculpture entitled "Wolftable", in which a table is mounted with the stuffed head of a wolf. Beginning in the early 1960's Brauner lived and worked in Varengeville, France; he represented France at the Venice Biennale in 1966, the year he died.