Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner was born in Lithuania in the year 1885. His brother, Victor, already established as a medallist in New York City, brought Michael and the family to New York in 1894. First apprenticed to his brother, Michael attended the renown Art Student's League school in New York City, where Augustus St. Gaudens recognized his talent and encouraged his further studies in Paris, first more formally at the Beaux Arts (1900) and for two more years at the Academie Julian. His early work was well received, and he was soon embraced by the flock that centered about Gertrude Stein, a homing beacon for talent. Brenner became close with Stein, creating a portrait bust, of which she was very fond, and a unique, almost full size nude. Brenner was art director of the avant garde magazine, "The Soil," which published Stein's first writings. He was also co-owner of the Washington Square Gallery, with Robert J. Coady introducing to America the works of Matisse, Gris, Picasso, Rousseau and others. In Paris, Brenner kept his studio at 52 Rue Lhomond in the Quartier Latin (The Latin Quarter) until very near the time of his death in 1969. The poet Aleister Crowley sat for his portrait in 1908. Brenner's drawing was an important part of his artistic energy balance, sharing vigor with his classic, and most-often uncast (during his life)1, sculptures. The drawings provided essential elements for his clays and plasters, but also reflected his lifelong effort to achieve a higher level of spontaneous, complete, artistic truth. His work is in important American collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Hirschorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library Berkeley, California. A video of his life and work can be found here.

Jack Leissring: "The Life and Work of Michael Brenner,1885-1969, ISBN 0-9630085-0-1, Published 1991. www.jclfa.com

Michael Brenner: Figure Study, 1922

Michael Brenner: Head of Mayan Woman, 1925

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, Half-body frontal

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Two nudes

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, Reclining, viewed from back

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, back view

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, torso

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, squatting

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, raised arms

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, seated

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, seated with crossed-legs

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Nude, sleeping, hand to head

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Head, male

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Head and neck of woman

Michael Brenner: Drawing: Head, male, frontal