No longer considered a major figure in art, Laurens nonetheless contributed significantly to the development of sculptural language in the earlier twentieth century. His key friendship, lifelong, was with Braque, who opened his eyes to a freer way of working, and introduced him to Picasso, Gris, and Léger. Chagall, Soutine and Modigliani were friends from la Ruche, Maillol a later neighbour. Like his friend Reverdy, whose poems he illustrated, Laurens was painfully shy. Giacometti wrote movingly about his sculpture, and like Matisse, was outraged at its lack of recognition at the Venice Biennale, Matisse indignantly sharing his prize money with Laurens.