Artist profile

Naum Gabo

Naum Gabo was one of the world’s foremost Constructivist sculptors. Born in Russia in 1890, named Naum Pevsner, he was the younger brother of artist Antoine Pevsner. He studied science and medicine at the University of Munich from 1910 to 1912, and later moved on to study philosophy and art history. In the ensuing years, he lived throughout Europe including in Norway, Paris and England, coming into contact with the artistic movements of the time. He made his first artistic constructions during the First World War, using cardboard, plywood and iron and adopted the name Gabo, in order to distinguish himself from his brother, however they continued to influence one another. In 1920, Gabo and Pevsner issued the Realistic Manifesto, which outlined several of their concepts on art, including the rejection of Cubism and Futurism, an embrace of public art that encompassed space and time as essential elements, and the idea that "art has its absolute, independent value."

Gabo exhibited internationally throughout his life and was to finally settle in the United States in 1946. His legacy has influenced several generations of practitioners across the world including artists and architects working with abstract and organic forms, kinetic and installation artists.

Biography

1890
Born Briansk, Russia. Named Naum Neemia Pevsner
1910–14
Enrolled in medical faculty at University of Munich and then switched to natural science in 1911
1914
At outbreak of war went to Copenhagen, Bergen, and then Oslo with younger brother Alexei
1915
Made first constructions using the name Gabo.
1917
Returned to Russia
1920
First public exhibition in the open air on Tverskoi Boulevard, Moscow. Wrote Realistic Manifesto, published in Moscow, which was also signed by brother Antoine
1922–32
Lived and worked in Berlin
1928
Lectured at Bauhaus
1932
Left Germany for Paris
1932–35
Member of the group Abstraction-Création
1935–46
Lived in England
1946
Left England for the United States
1953–54
Professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Architecture
1954
Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship. Awarded Mr and Mrs Frank G. Logan Medal of the Art Institute of Chicago
1977
Died in Waterbury (Connecticut), USA

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