Composition cubist, 1919
Imbrication de cônes, 1920
b. 1888, Szeged, Austria-Hungary
d. 1971, Paris, France
Joseph Csáky was a pioneer of Cubist sculpture who, contemporaneously with Pablo Picasso, revolutionized the discipline. Csáky’s artistic education began in 1905, when he enrolled at the Mintarajziskola (The School of Decorative Arts) in Budapest. He developed his skill-set as a sculptor working in the studio of painter and designer László Kimnach, and later in a porcelain manufacturer and lead foundry in Budapest. Csáky moved to Paris in 1908 to attend the Académie de la Palette, and moved into the famous artist studio complex La Ruche (The Beehive), where he began working in the Cubist vein. Csáky’s work of the time reveals a Cubist understanding of space, with planes transforming into abstract, architectonic forms. Csáky’s sculptural interpretations of Cubist motifs are characterized by elements borrowed from non-western sculpture, the integration of open space, and the use of geometry. Cubist sculpture is rooted in reducing objects to component planes and geometric solids such as cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones, which explains Csáky’s multiple iterations of Tête cubiste and geometric shapes in different mediums. As Csáky’s career progressed, he began experimenting with the Purism of Amédée Ozenfant and Le Corbusier and adopted a more figurative style. Influenced by Aristide Maillol, Csáky’s later oeuvre was dominated by his voluptuous renderings of human and animal forms.