BRAUNER, VICTOR (1903–1966), surrealist painter. Brauner, born in Pietra Neamţ, Romania, grew up in Bucharest, where he joined the avant-garde of Romanian artists. In 1930 he settled in Paris where he associated with André Breton and the surrealists and participated in all the major surrealist exhibitions until 1949. During World War ii he hid from the Germans in an Alpine village and returned to Paris in 1945. Some of Brauner's early works contain an element of social satire (e.g., L'étrange cas de monsieur K). He later elaborated acomplex private world of symbolism and mythology, and drew on numerous sources of inspiration in order to make this private world universal. To this end he studied myth, psychology, ethnology, child art, the art of the insane, and that of primitive peoples. In 1948 he made a series of paintings with himself as subject (e.g., Victor, Empereur de l'espace Infini). After 1951, in a state of deep depression, he painted his series of "Rectractés": These are people who find no peace in the world. Unable to escape, they turn, instead, a terrifying gaze on the spectator (e.g., Regard de la lumière). Many of Brauner's later works were almost abstract, executed with a wry sense of humor.
A. Jouffroy, Brauner (Fr. 1959); S. Alexandrian, Victor Brauner, l'illuminateur (1954); idem (ed.), Les dessins magiques de Victor Brauner (1965).