Victor Brauner
1903 - 1966

Portrait of Victor Brauner by Denise Colomb, 1957

Although Victor Brauner was one of the earliest Surrealists (André Breton wrote the catalogue introduction for Brauner’s first exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in 1934), he is among the least well-known Surrealist painters. He disagreed with the Surrealists’ decision to expel Matta from the group, and as a result broke away from the movement in 1948. He spent the war in the Basses-Alpes area; when it ended, he returned to Paris and took a studio in the rue Perrel. There, he painted a group of seven pictures entitled Lion, lumière, liberté, which appeared in the Cahiers d’Art in 1947. From then on, his artistic development often took the form of cycles of artworks: Le codex du poète in 1946-1947; Mammalie in 1948;  the Victors series, an autobiographical work he called Onomatomanie, in 1949; the group known as the Rétractés in 1950; and Mythologie and La Fête des Mères, two series of large pictures on canvas and wood cut-outs that were shown in the Galerie A. Iolas in Paris in 1966. Brauner’s paintings focused on the unconscious, and he constantly wrote about and commented on his works. His notebooks provide the key to his dreamlike, intensely poetic world. As he puts it,

“ Art draws on magic - the revolt of the will against destiny - for the stimulus to regenerate its permanent undesirableness … My painting is autobiographical … It also recounts reveries that are formally and temporally primitive … My painting is symbolic. Each time, it is a direct poetic message. ”


  • Galerie Pierre, 1946.
  • Galerie René Drouin, 1948-1949.
  • Cahiers d’Art, 1950-1952-1955; Galerie de France, 1952.
  • Galerie du Dragon (with Matta), 1956.
  • Galerie Rive Droite, 1957 and 1959-1960-1961 (with Espaces hypnotiques), 1962.
  • Galerie le Point Cardinal, 1962 (Codex d’un visage) and 1963 (Bestiaire).
  • Galerie A. Iolas, 1965 (paintings from 1963-1964).


Took part in many group exhibitions including International Surrealist Exhibitions in Paris and abroad, notably:

  • New Burlington Galleries, London, 1936.
  • Galerie Maeght, 1947.
  • Galerie Daniel Cordier, 1959 and 1960
  • Galerie Charpentier, 1964, 1965 and 1966 (with a picture entitled L’écart absolu).


  • Salon des Surindépendants 1945.
  • Salon de Mai 1956, 1960, 1961, 1962 (selection shown in Tokyo), 1964, 1965.
  • Salon Comparaisons 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965.
  • Salon des Peintres Témoins de leur Temps, 1959 (theme “L’âge mécanique”).

Repas de la Somnambule, 1942
Oil on canvas
61 x 46 cm
Mythotomie, 1942
Oil on canvas
61 x 46 cm

From 1961 onwards, lived in villa L’Athanor in Varengeville-sur-mer.

Represented France at the 1966 Venice Biennale.

1972 Brauner retrospective, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris. Catalogue.

1990 “V. Brauner”, Galerie Didier Imbert, Paris. Catalogue.

2020–2021 Victor Brauner Retrospective, Musée d’Art moderne de Paris. Catalogue.


  • In Paris: Musée national d’Art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou (donation of drawings from the artist’s studio, 1974; exhibition, 1975. Catalogue). Musée d’Art moderne de Paris.
  • Outside Paris: Brauner bequest, 1988, Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Les Sables d’Olonne.
  • Outside France: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.


Alain Jouffroy, Brauner, Le Musée de poche, Fall, 1959.
Didier Semin, Victor Brauner, Filipacchi, 1990.

les artistes