Born St Jean-de-Braye, near Orléans, France
Died Neuville-Saint-Vaast, France
Sculptor and draughtsman Henri Gaudier was born in Saint-Jean-de Braye, near Orléans in France in 1891. At the age of fourteen he made his first visit to England, studying in Bristol on a fellowship. Afterwards, he moved to Germany and then Paris, where he began to sculpt. In 1911 he returned to London accompanied by the Polish writer Sophie Brzeska, who was twenty years his senior, adding her surname to his. By 1913 Gaudier-Brzeska was part of a progressive circle which included T E Hulme, Ezra Pound and Jacob Epstein, becoming a founder member of The London Group, as well as a member of the Vorticists and publishing work in their journal "Blast". He also had a close friendship with artists Horace Brodzky and Alfred Wolmark, both of whom he sculpted. His sculptures, predominantly of the human head, figures and animals, closely based on observations from nature, increasingly became radically simplified and geometrical. In 1915 he volunteered for the army, sending Edward Wadsworth drawings from the trenches for inclusion in the London Group exhibition. He died in action the same year in Neuville-Saint-Vaast, at the age of 24.
Date c. 1913
Object type drawing
Medium black chalk on paper
Unframed 32.5 x 20 cm
Signed (lower right) 'Gaudier Brzeska'
Acquisition Purchased at Christies London March 2018 through the support of three great friends of Manya Igel in her honour
Accession number 2018-07
Display status not on display
This is one of two portrait heads of painter and draughtsman Horace Brodzky (1885-1969), whose work is also represented in the Ben Uri Collection. Brodzky met sculptor Gaudier-Brzeska in 1913 and sat for a bust (Portrait of Brodzky, 1913, plaster and bronze), for which this is a study. Brodzky published a biography of Gaudier-Brzeska in 1933.
Roger Cole, 'Henri Gaudier Brzeska - A Sculptor's Drawings' (London: Peter Nahum at the Leicester Galleries, London, 1995), no. 7.