Anton Pevsner (1884 Klimovitchi - 1962 Paris)
Black pencil on paper ; signed and dated at the lower left ; 23.5 x 32.5 cm
Paris, Rabaudy collection ; Paris, private collection ; Versailles, Perrin-Royère-Lajeunesse, 4th July 2010 ; Paris, Le Polyptyque collection ; Paris, private collection.
Anton Pevsner and his brother Naum Gabo - who moved to England, then to the United States and changed his name to avoid confusion - are now considered pioneers of modern sculpture.
However, it was an ancient Russian icon that decided the vocation of the young Pevsner while visiting a monastery. He observed that the eyes of the saint took on a concave or convex shape according to the direction of the light. He would have conceived the idea that emptiness can be as expressive as fullness.
In St. Petersburg, then in Paris in 1912, he was in contact with the avant-gardes, especially the cubists. But it was the metallic architecture of the Eiffel Tower that impressed him the most. Back to Russia, he painted cubist bas-reliefs, taught alongside Kandinsky and Malevitch, collaborated with Lissitzky, Rodchenko and Tatlin, and published the Realist Manifesto with Gabo, the founding text of Constructivism, in 1920.
In 1923, the two brothers took the pretext of an exhibition in France to flee Soviet Russia. Pevsner settled in Paris (he was naturalized in 1930) and created radically original works, using innovative materials such as Plexiglas, nylon, celluloid and plastic, aiming at an aerial translucence.
It is through drawing that Pevsner continues to explore and conceive sculpture, as in this Composition of 1924, where the elements of his vocabulary are perfectly distinguishable : Plexiglas edges, nylon and celluloid threads to build up voids and solids, and form large spatial curves. The sculpture born of the artist's imagination comes to life in the viewer's imagination, accepting the challenge of a sculptor's drawing.