Antoine Pevsner, Column of Peace, 1954
Detail of Antoine Pevsner, Column of Peace, 1954
Column of Peace
Valerie Fletcher: Antoine Pevsner was born in Russia in 1886. As a young man he set out to be a painter. His brother named Naum Gabo, was a sculptor. Pevsner studied in Paris from 1911 to 1914, the time when the revolutionary new movements of Cubism and Futurism were emerging among young artists. Pevsner took these ideas back with him when he returned to Russia at the end of World War I. There the Bolsheviks had overthrown the Czarist regime and had instituted at least in the first years an optimistic plan to change society to a more egalitarian and constructive mode. Of course this changed soon, but in those years between 1918 and 1923, the idea was that they could create monuments to a great future.
It wasn’t until after World War II that Pevsner really hit his stride. In the sculpture Column of Peace from 1954, Pevsner put into visual form the ideas of the Futurists which was that art could convey energy, convey a sense of optimism and progress and hope, and that in abstraction these could be conveyed through dynamic thrusting elements, linear elements that point usually upward and outward and that is what you see in the Column of Peace. Pevsner hoped that this medium-sized sculpture would eventually be enlarged and placed as a monument, a column to peace forevermore. His ideas and the upward hopefulness of this work is still apparent in small scale.