César

Biography

Artwork

" a modern predator of industrial folklore "

Biography

Research

César is the name of art by the French sculptor César Baldaccini. From the late Fifties with his first Compressions (car bodies passed at the press and turned into twisted metal compact prisms) his research put him in touch with the movement of Nouveau Réalisme (New Realism movement). Around 1966 he began the Expansions, casting made of polyurethane, "worked" at the time of solidification in the form of giant anthropomorphic objects (The Thumbs, The Breast) or left to chance.

Notes

His full name was César Baldaccini, but he is usually known simply as César. After studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, Marseilles (1935-9) he went on to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1943-8). César Baldaccini was born in Marseilles, France, in 1921 of Italian parents. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Marseilles, from 1935-39 and then enrolled at the École 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 of Nouveaux Réalistes like Arman, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Jean Tinguely, Pierre Restany and others, engaging directly with reality through using everyday artifacts rather than traditional art materials. His artwork Combustion des allumettes (Combustion of matchsticks), dated 1972, is representative of this research. From 1965 he worked on a series known as Expansions, and experimented with what were for him new materials, such as glass fibre and polyester resin. He gave up making welded-metal sculpture in 1966 and organized a series of happenings from 1967-1970, in which he produced expansions in the presence of an audience. His later works also included 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.

Artwork