Born at St Jean de Braye, near Orléans, Gaudier studied both commerce and painting in London before turning to sculpture in Paris (1910). Here he met Sophie Brzeska from Poland, with whom he lived from that time and whose name he added to his own. The following year they settled in London, where they lived in poverty.
From 1912 Henri Gaudier-Brzeska immersed himself in London's artistic and literary life, meeting Katherine Mansfield, Wyndham Lewis, Jacob Epstein, Ezra Pound, Roger Fry, and others. He signed the vorticist manifesto and experimented with many other avant-garde styles. On the outbreak of World War I he enlisted in the French army and was killed in 1915 at the age of twenty-four. It is widely recognized that had his artistic development not been cut short at this eclectic experimental stage he might have been one of the twentieth century's greatest sculptors.