|Birth||October 4, 1891|
|Birthplace||Saint Jean de Braye, France|
|Death||June 5, 1915|
|Place of Death||Neuville-Saint-Vaast, France|
|Sculptor and draughtsman of figures, animals and abstracts in pen and ink, pastel and pencil. Born in France, Henri Gaudier came to England in 1906. Self-taught as an artist he visited Holland, Belgium and Germany in 1909 and by 1910 had settled in Paris where he met Sophie Brzeska.
In 1911 they moved to London and he began to use her name. By 1913 he had established a studio in Putney, met Middleton Murray and Ezra Pound and, from October, worked at the Omega Workshops. During this period he met Brodzky, Wyndham Lewis and T.E.Hulme. He exhibited at the AAA and with the Grafton Group in 1914, and was a founder member of the London Group. From 1914 he was associated with the Vorticists, contributing to Blast, nos I and II, and to the Vorticist Exhibition in 1915.
Gaudier-Brzeska joined the army to fight in WWI and was killed in France in 1915.
A memorial exhibition was held in 1918 at the Leicester Galleries and retrospective exhibitions by the Arts Council in 1956-7 and 1983. He was influenced by early Classical art, Rodin and the development of Fauvism and Cubism. In Paris during the year of Picasso’s second exhibtion, he also assimilated ideas from Brancussi, Epstein and from tribal art. Like Pound he believed in the image as the centre of energy and movement, stressed the need for simplification and that form both expressed and contained emotion.
The most naturally gifted of the Vorticists, he infused their ‘mechanism’ with the vitality of the living form. His sculpture, most of it carved, reflects his versatility and innovation in its range from Cubist abstraction to primitivism, e.g Red Stone Dance, 1913 (Tate Gallery), with its use of geometric simplification and tribal art, and Seated Woman, 1914 (Centre Pompidou, Paris), which demonstrated warmer, more naturalistic and monumental forms.
His drawings, many of birds and animals, contain energy and vitality in the simplest way, using wiry and nervous lines, which in some cases test the contour for sculpture. These drawings range from the representation of the subject by outline to the formalised investigation of planes and movement, e.g. Two Horse, 1914. Some of his strongly coloured pastels, in addition to portraiture, show him experimenting with pure abstraction. He also did a linocut and some etching.