Antoine Pevsner
Drawings 1912-1956

May 1 – July 30, 1999
at Peter Blum SoHo

Peter Blum is pleased to present an exhibition of 120 drawings by Antoine Pevsner.This exhibition opens Saturday, May 1, at 99 Wooster Street and continues until July 10.

Antoine Pevsner (1886-1962) was one of founding members of the Russian Constructivist movement in 1920, along with sculptor Naum Gabo. (Gabo, who was Pevsner's younger brother, changed his name to distinguish himself from Pevsner.) First studying in Kiev and St. Petersburg (1902-1910), Pevsner then went to Paris in 1911 where he first became interested in Cubism and Futurism. During World War I, Pevsner went to Norway to live with Gabo and it was there that Pevsner created his first important sculptures. Pevsner and Gabo returned to Moscow in 1917 at the height of Russia's political turmoil, and in 1920 they co-published their famous "Realistic Manifesto" that would accompany an outdoor exhibition of their works. This manifesto gave precise expression to their ideals and principles for a new art.  One of the few existing copies of this historic document will be on view.  The 120 drawings in this exhibition are an expansive collection of works by Pevsner created over a forty year period. While a number of these drawings are studies for sculptures, many are independent works unrelated to his free-standing constructions or reliefs. The drawings, however, were instrumental in Pevsner's development of a radical new imagery and allowed him to carry out his main interest of emphasizing voids rather than mass as a constructive principle in sculpture. His earliest sculptures were often made of translucent materials, such as plastic or celluloid, but by the late 1930s he would begin to replace these with metal sheets or metal rods brazed together into planar arrangements.  
The drawings also reveal Pevsner's lifelong interest in Russian icons and ancient and medieval art.  Pevsner was deeply struck by these humanistic influences early on. Images of the face and body, having an almost prophetic impact on what he would anticipate, would lead him ultimately to abstraction, and to creating works that were "a fusion of surface and space, at once internal and external"- what Pevsner himself identified as to give "an impression of mobility, forms appearing sometimes open, sometimes closed . . . at the same time moving in and moving out, hollow and raised-a phenomenon that produced the sensations of life itself."    

For further information or visual materials please contact Peter Blum or Arthur Solway.
Gallery hours: Tuesday - Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 11-6 p.m., and Monday by appointment.