Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Victor Brauner
1903 - 1966
titled on the reverse
oil on canvas
116 by 89.5cm., 45 5/8 by 35 1/4 in.
Painted in 1963. 
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The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Samy Kinge.


Galerie Tarica, Paris
Acquired by the present owner from the above by 1974

Catalogue Note

The present work is a wonderful example of some of Victor Brauner's most iconic artistic elements. His œuvre is characterised by an intrinsic mysteriousness and naivety that comes from his lifelong fascination for primitive art, particularly that of Egypt and Africa. Upon returning to Paris following World War II, his paintings incorporated symbols based on Tarot cards, hieroglyphics and Mayan codices. Alain Jouffroy has argued that his primitive aesthetic was not simply 'an aesthetic and formal borrowing' but that it also corresponded to 'a desire to overcome European traditions' (Alain Jouffrroy, 'Victor Brauner: Beyond Surrealism' in Victor Brauner (exhibition catalogue), Didier Imbert Fine Art, Paris, 1990, p. 24).

Brauner was particularly interested in the ritual and symbolic qualities inherent in primitive art, qualities which he successfully transferred to the present work. Hybrids are a recurrent motif in Brauner's œuvre and indeed animals always play a particularly symbolic role. Le Choix is a perfect illustration of such symbolism with the parrot-like central figure. As the artist said himself, 'when I paint animals, I identify with them, it's as simple as that [...] a bird means, either you should be a bird, or you were a bird. If you are a bird, you are free' (quoted in Victor Brauner (exhibition catalogue), Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1972, pp. 84-85, translated from French).

The reduction of the figure to its most essential form, together with the symbolism of the animals, give this work an intrinsic universality, a quality which unifies much of the artist's œuvre. Remarking upon Brauner's work in general, Alain Jouffroy has argued that 'by its connections with the symbolic systems of various civilizations, it went beyond the traditional dichotomies between the old and the new, the West and the East, spontaneous dreams and reasoned criticism and [...] 'the abstract' and 'the figurative' (Alain Jouffroy, op. cit., p. 8).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale