César (César Baldaccini) 1921-1998

Artist biography

César born 1921

French sculptor, born in Marseilles of Italian parents. Full name César Baldaccini, but is usually known as César. Studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Marseilles, 1935-9 and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris 1943-8. Started to make sculptures by welding together pieces of scrap metal in 1952 and first made his reputation with solid welded sculptures of insects, various kinds of animals, nudes, etc. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Lucien Durand, Paris, 1954. Began in 1960 to make compressions by compressing car bodies into dense packages and later the same year joined the group Nouveaux Réalistes with Arman, Klein, Raysse, Tinguely, Pierre Restany and others. Started in 1965 to work with plastics, first with plastic moulds of human imprints, then from 1966 by pouring expanded polyurethane which was allowed to expand and solidify. Gave up making welded metal sculpture in 1966. Organised a series of Happenings from 1967-70 in which he produced expansions in the presence of an audience. His later works also include sculptures made out of molten crystal. Lives in Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.99