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César’s Expansion?

Published on , by Pierre Naquin
It took twenty years for the Centre Pompidou-Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris to pay homage to one of the most popular French artists of the 20th century, and one of the most controversial. A period of limbo? Time enough, for some, for the “César affairs” to die down – the forgeries and the haggling over his estate...
César Baldaccini, aka César (1921-1998), "Le Centaure (Hommage à Picasso)", 1983-1987,... César’s Expansion?
César Baldaccini, aka César (1921-1998), "Le Centaure (Hommage à Picasso)", 1983-1987, welded bronze, numbered 5/8, Bocquel foundry, 101 x 105 x 48.5 cm. Paris, Drouot, 24 November 2017. Pestel-Debord auction house. Mr Frassi. Sold for €365,400.
© SBJ / Adagp, Paris 2018
It took twenty years for the Centre Pompidou-Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris to pay homage to one of the most popular French artists of the 20th century, and one of the most controversial. A period of limbo? Time enough, for some, for the “César affairs” to die down – the forgeries and the haggling over his estate – and for others to get the measure of his talent. Even during his lifetime, the lad from Marseille experienced glory and misfortune alike. Some of the intelligentsia rejected his Compressions exhibited at the 1960 Salon de Mai, and he was criticised for his typically Mediterranean gift of the gab.   The Iron Man Nonetheless, he quickly shot to success – a natural handyman who, as he himself put it, was “always fiddling with something”. He first attended the Fine Arts school in his hometown, then in 1943 headed for the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. César, né Baldaccini , applied to get in, but in vain. He trained instead at an industrial carpentry factory in the Var region,…
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