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César


Man in Spider’s Web

1955

Compression

1969
 


César Baldaccini was born in Marseilles, France, in 1921 of Italian parents. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Marseilles, from 1935-39 and then enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. César moved permanently to Paris in 1943 and lived above the studio of Alberto Giacometti, where he met Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau and Jean Paul Sartre.

In 1952 he began to make sculptures by welding together pieces of scrap metal and first made his reputation with solid welded sculptures of insects, various kinds of animals, nudes, etc. Cesar’s first major one man show was held at the Salon de Mai in Paris in 1955. The entire show sold out and he was invited in 1957 to participate in the prestigious Venice Biennale. In 1960 he created his first ‘compressions’ by compressing car bodies into dense packages. Later the same year César joined the group Nouveaux Réalistes with Arman, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Jean Tinguely, Pierre Restany and others. In 1965 he stated to work with plastics, first with plastic moulds of human imprints, then from 1966 onwards by pouring expanded polyurethane which was allowed to expand and solidify.

By 1966 he had given up making welded metal sculpture. From 1967 until 1970 he organized a series of happenings from in which he produced expansions in the presence of an audience. His later works also include sculptures made out of molten crystal. In 1982 retrospectives of his work are organized by the Musée d’Art Moderne, Lieges, the Espace Niçois d’Art et de Culture, Nice, the Seibu Foundation and Ottara Museum in Japan. In 1995 he participates to the Venice Biennale. César died in Paris on December 6, 1998.

credits: Hangar Design Group