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Antoine Pevsner

(1886—1962) Russian-born French sculptor and painter


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(b ?Orel, 18 Jan. 1884; d Paris, 12 Apr. 1962).

Russian-born sculptor and painter who became a French citizen in 1930. He was the elder brother of Naum Gabo and like him one of the pioneers and chief exponents of Constructivism. Between 1911 and 1914 he made lengthy visits to Paris, where Archipenko and Modigliani were among his friends. After two years in Norway with Gabo he returned to Russia in 1917. In 1920 he was co-signatory of Gabo's Realistic Manifesto, which set forth the ideals of Constructivism, and in 1922 he helped to organize a major exhibition of Soviet art in Berlin. He left Russia in 1923 because the authorities were turning against the ‘pure’ art in which he was interested in favour of utilitarian work, and later that year he settled permanently in Paris. Up to this time he had been a painter, but he now turned to sculpture, at first working mainly in plastic, then in welded metal. Initially his sculptures retained vestiges of representation, as in his witty Portrait of Marcel Duchamp (1926, Yale Univ. AG), but by 1927 he had arrived at pure abstraction. His later work was characterized by bold spiralling forms (Dynamic Projection in the 30th Degree, 1950–1, Baltimore Mus. of Art). Pevsner was a founder member of Abstraction-Création and was influential in transmitting Constructivist ideas to other artists in the group. By the end of his career he was a much-honoured figure.


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