Victor BraunerSans titre
Paint, paraffin and Ink on paper, laid down on canvas
Signed and dated Victor Brauner VII 1955
19.69 x 25.59 in ( 50 x 65 cm )
Inquiry - Sans titre, 1955


Private Collection, Italy

Auction Sale Il Ponte Casa d'Aste, Milano

Private Collection

Christies, London

Private Collection 

Artwork's description

This work by Victor Brauner, dating back to 1955 and executed in paraffin, is part of the continuity of his artistic exploration initiated through the use of candle wax, a technique he perfected during the summer of 1943 while working in secrecy.
This creative process, revealed in his correspondence with René Char and André Breton, unveils a unique approach to art. Brauner exploits the possibilities o
ffered by paraffin by layering different coats, which he then covers with ink or oil. Using a sharp object, he delicately scratches the surface, thus allowing the emergence of enigmatic and totemic forms, inspired by his esoteric readings.

The use of modest materials, such as candle wax or paraffin attests to a poetics of constraint unique to Brauner. These simple elements become vehicles for evocative magic, evoking a mythical and mysterious world. In this fusion of innovative techniques and modest materials, Brauner creates a work of original and unknown quality, thus revealing his artistic genius and his ability to transcend the conventional limits of creation.

Artist's biography

Victor Brauner, a major figure of Surrealism, was born in 1903 in Pietra Neamtz, Moldavia (Romania). His childhood was steeped in a mystical environment, as his father was a fervent follower of spiritualism, an influence that deeply marked his early years. Social unrest compelled the Brauner family to hastily leave Moldavia for Hamburg in 1907, then to exile in Vienna at the beginning of the Balkan Wars in 1912, before returning to Romania in 1914 via the Danube.

From 1917 onwards, Victor Brauner developed a passion for painting while continuing his studies at the evangelical school in Braïla, where he developed a particular interest in zoology. His academic journey then took him to the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where his controversial works led to his expulsion. However, he persisted in his artistic pursuit by joining the Free Academy of Bucharest, while indulging in painting Cezannesque landscapes on the shores of the Black Sea.

The year 1924 marked a decisive turning point in Brauner's life as he co-founded the magazine "75 H.P." alongside the poet Ilarie Voronca, introducing the manifesto of "Picto-poetry." That same year, he held his first solo exhibition at the "Art House" in Bucharest. His inaugural trip to Paris in 1925 was revelatory, where he discovered the haunting works of Giorgio de Chirico, thus stimulating his artistic imagination.

His settlement in Paris in 1930 marked the beginning of a prolific and influential period for Brauner, where he immersed himself fully in the Surrealist movement. His circle of friends included iconic figures such as Brancusi, Benjamin Fondane, and Yves Tanguy. His work, imbued with symbolism and mystery, depicted strange worlds inhabited by enigmatic creatures.

The year 1938 was marked by a tragic event, almost confirming a premonition in Brauner's work: during an altercation between two other artists, he indeed lost his left eye. This tragedy did not halt his creative momentum but rather enriched it with a tragic and introspective dimension.

Brauner, in constant movement between Paris and Bucharest, witnessed the turmoil of war, a period during which he developed his series of "Chimeras" or "Twilights," bearing witness to the torments of his time.

His temporary exile in the French Alps during the war marked a turning point in his artistic technique, where he experimented with wax painting, thus relinquishing the third dimension in favor of a more esoteric and symbolic aesthetic. This evolution culminated in the autobiographical cycle of "Onomathomanies" that he undertook in 1947, a period imbued with doubt and pain, but also with reflection on his own self.

Brauner's final years were marked by a joyful and whimsical exploration of mythology, as evidenced by his famous series "Mythology" and "Mother's Day." His artistic legacy was celebrated during his lifetime, notably by his representation of France at the Venice Biennale in 1966. He passed away in Paris in March of the same year, leaving behind an artistic legacy imbued with mystery and fascination.