Romanian avant-garde painter and sculptor Victor Brauner was considered to be one of the pioneers of the Surrealist movement. Born in 1903 in Piatra Neamț, he was raised in a Spiritualist family – a theme that permeates many of his works. He studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, opening his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Mozart in 1924.
After moving to Paris in 1930, Brauner was introduced to Andre Breton by Yves Tanguy, and became an important part of the Surrealists. Haunted by strange premonitions, he obsessively painted self-portraits with mutilated eyes- a nightmarish series that earned him a reputation as clairvoyant after he ended up losing his own eye in a fight. He left Paris for the Pyrenees during the war and, due to a lack of his usual materials, he improvised with encaustic techniques and fumage. He later returned to Paris and, although he had broken with the Surrealist group, continued to work in the style.
Brauner represented France at the Venice biennale in 1966; he died the same year.