43
43

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Victor Brauner
LA MÉMOIRE 
JUMP TO LOT
43

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Victor Brauner
LA MÉMOIRE 
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Surrealist Art Evening Sale

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Victor Brauner
1903 - 1966
LA MÉMOIRE 
signed Victor Brauner and dated 1940 (lower right)
oil on canvas
60 by 49cm.
23 5/8 by 19 1/4 in.
Painted in 1940.
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Samy Kinge has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Provenance

Arte Moderna (Beniamino Levi), Milan

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1983

Exhibited

Milan, Galleria Levi, Surrealismo, 1974, no. 43, illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

Victor Brauner: miti, presagi, simboli: opere dal 1929 al 1965 (exhibition catalogue), Villa Malpensata, Musei e Cultura, Lugano, 1985, illustrated p. 25

Didier Semin, Victor Brauner, Paris, 1990, illustrated p. 95

Catalogue Note

The unique Surrealist style of Victor Brauner often involves the juxtaposition of playful yet jarring symbols to create unsettling scenes that evades rational interpretation. The present work is an example of such a composition: well-balanced and multilayered, the woman, the bird and the monster seem to co-exist on the canvas in perfect harmony, yet their expressions evoke a sense of shock and ominousness, perhaps a symbol of the conflict that had already engulfed the European continent at the time. In 1940, the year he painted La Mémoire, Brauner escaped occupied Paris and sought refuge alongside fellow Surrealists in the south of France.

In 1938 Brauner had suffered an unfortunate accident, in which he lost his left eye while attempting to separate a fight between Oscar Domínguez and Esteban Francés. Brauner’s eye was torn out by a glass thrown by Domínguez, and as a result of this incident, the eye became a prominent motif in the artist's work. Writing about it several years later, Brauner said: 'Six and a half years have passed since the loss of my left eye, but this mutilation haunts me as it did the first day, constituting the most painful and important thing that has happened to me. Through time and events it has been fundamental to my development. In my painting I wear the physical mark, and for this reason and other incomprehensible reasons, the obsessive need for the reconstruction of all the facts related to this great Cyclopic hole in my body until the moment when little by little, the dissolution of my physical being becomes parallel to the general dissolution around me' (quoted in D. Semin, op. cit., p. 84, translated from French). In the present work, the eye appears to be a unifying element between the woman and the beast, whose merging figures can be read as a reference to Janus, the double-faced god of beginnings, transitions and endings.

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