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Pol Bury

Pol Bury

*  1922 Haine-Saint-Pierre/Belgien
† 2005 Paris

The painter, graphic artist, sculptor, kinetic- and object artist Pol Bury counts among Belgium's most important representatives of post-war art.
Pol Bury was born in the Belgian town of Haine-Saint-Pierre in 1922. After a short time of studies at the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Mons (1938-1939), Pol Bury's artistic development was decisively coined by surrealist poetry in the late 1930s. He became member of the "Groupe de recherches surréalistes".
At that point Pol Bury turned to painting and his works from the first half of the 1940s show clear influences of surrealists such as Yves Tanguy and René Magritte. In 1945 he even took part in the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme in Brussels.
After World War II Pol Bury joined the artist group "Jeune Peinture Belge", in 1949 he was a short-term member of "CoBrA". As of that time he turned to geometric abstraction, which would dominate his painting until 1953.
At the turn of the decade Pol Bury changed his preferred medium. Inspired by Alexander Calder, paintings were replaced by sculptures and movable objects. In 1953 he made the first movable "Plan mobiles", in 1955 the wind chimes "Girouettes" and in 1957 the motor-propelled "Multiple planes".
In 1961 Pol Bury moved to Paris. During the 1960s the artist traveled the U.S.A. several times. In 1968 Pol Bury began to design jewelry. Remarkable pieces, characterized by plates of stainless steel, adorned with small beads and bolts, are documents of Pol Bury's great mastery in this field.
By that time Pol Bury had become a remarkably successful artist, in 1971 he had a retrospective at the New Yorker Guggenheim Museum. A special geometric and elegant aesthetic has always been characteristic of Pol Bury's three-dimensional works.
In 1973 Pol Bury moved to the countryside, to Perdreauville near Paris. In these new surroundings he created monumental sculptures and the famous fountains, of which one was made for the Guggenheim Museum in 1980, in 1985 Bury made two other fountains for the gardens of the Palais-Royal in Paris, in 1994 he made a fountain for the Tohoku University of Art and Design in the Japanese town of Yamagata.
Pol Bury's later period of creation was also quite manifold. Worthwhile mentioning are the "Volumes figés" from 1997, elaborately fanned out bronze sculptures, or the "Ramollissements virtuels" from after the turn of the millennium, for which Pol Bury digitally processed paintings by old masters. Additionally, Pol Bury showed great poise in graphic art.
Pol Bury, who taught at the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris between 1983 and 1987, was ennobled to be Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1992, died in Paris in 2005.