César Baldaccini was born in 1921 in the popular district of Belle-de-Mai. He first worked with his father, before taking courses at the school of fine arts in his hometown in 1935 and then, in 1943, at the national school of fine arts in Paris and occupied a studio in a former brothel on the “rue de l’Échaudé”, whose rooms, following the Marthe Richard law, had been allocated to students.
César meets Pablo Picasso and Germaine Richier then lives in the same house as Alberto Giacometti. From 1947, he worked with plaster and iron. In 1952, in Provence, he made his first welding tests and his first sculptures in scrap metal.
Well known for his sculptures, he was also a prolific draftsman. A man both simple and cunning, outspoken southerner, he cultivates his image of eternal craftsman, welder, while showing a keen sense of business. The overexploitation of certain processes such as compressions, the Reinventions, from 1980, of his old sculptures of which he modifies some details, the return, from 1985, to the series of Patinous Hens, then the Reliefs, compositions made of old jugs.
In 1998, César died in Paris at the age of 77. Shortly before his death, the National Gallery of the Jeu de Paume devoted an important retrospective to him. His works are collected by museums and individuals around the world.