The sculptor César Baldaccini—known to the world as César—was born exactly 100 years ago, in 1921, in the French city of Marseille. In 1943, he moved to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and Jean-Paul Sartre. César drew attention in the early 1950s when he welded scraps of metal into sculptures of insects, animals, and nudes. In 1960, now a founding member of the Paris-based Nouveau Réalistes, he made his first “compression”—with a hydraulic crushing machine he squashed three cars into a dense metal column. Talk about an artistic signature! The renowned César died in 1998. On the centenary of his birth, a celebration of César’s important periods and styles. —E.C.
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