Constantin Brâncuși was born on February 19, 1876, in the village of Hobita, Gorj County, Romania. His family was poor. He had to work from an early age. He left his home at the age of 11 and supported himself, finding work in Slatina, then in Craiova. At the age of 18, he enrolled at the School of Arts and Crafts in Craiova. In 1898, he was admitted to the Bucharest School of Fine Arts where he studied sculpture. After graduation, he decided to go to Paris, the cultural center of the arts. Due to lack of money, he went on foot most of the Bucharest-Paris road.
In 1905 he began his studies at the Parisian Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the sculpture studio of Antonin Mercie. In 1907, Brâncuși worked as a studio assistant to the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin. After a few months, he left the studio. Brâncuși admired Rodin, but he explained that “Nothing grows in the shade of large trees.”
Constantin Brâncuși – one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th-century
Modernism is defined as “a style and movement in art, architecture and literature popular in the early 20th century in which modern ideas, methods and materials were used rather than traditional ones.”
Brâncuși explained that in his works he sought to capture the essence of things: “What is real is not the external form but the essence of things. Starting from this truth it is impossible for anyone to express anything essentially really by imitating its exterior surface.”
Time and again the value of Brâncuși ‘s sculptures has been confirmed. His works are hosted by the largest museums in the world. On the other hand, Brâncuși ‘s works presented at the auction houses were sold for millions of dollars. Thus, in May 2018, Portrait of Nancy Cunard, sold for $ 71 million at Christie’s New York.
From the works of the great Romanian sculptor I selected 3 famous sculptures: Bird in Space (1923), Mademoiselle Pogany (1913) and The Sleeping Muse (1910).
1. Bird in Space, 1923
Bird in Space was created in 1923 and made of marble. Then, Brâncuşi created several versions of Bird in Space in bronze, marble of various colors and plaster. In those works he focused on embodying a magical flight in stone. In October 1926, Bird in Space, along with other sculptures by Brâncuși, were sent to New York to participate in the exhibition at the Brummer Gallery in New York.
The U.S. customs authorities imposed trade taxes on Bird in Space, refusing to believe that this work was a sculpture. A famous trial followed in which Brâncuși’s defenders proved that Bird in Space is a work of art. One of Brâncuși’s defenders was the artist Marcel Duchamp. In the decision given by the judge it is shown that
“There has been developing a so-called new school of art, whose exponents attempt to portray abstract ideas rather than imitate natural objects… We think the facts of their existence and their influence upon the art worlds as recognised by the courts must be considered.”
2. Mademoiselle Pogany, 1913
Brâncuși created five versions of this work between 1913 and 1933.The bronze version of Mademoiselle Pogany, created in 1913, is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The head of the sculpture, with large eyes, a highly stylized nose, mouth and ears, amazes the viewer. The woman’s head rests on two hands, also stylized. Despite its minimalism, the sculpture is ingenious and full of mystery. Mademoiselle Pogany is full of life. The name of the statue comes from the Hungarian painter Margit Pogany, she was Brancuși’s model in 1911.
3. The Sleeping Muse, 1910
The Sleeping Muse is a bronze sculpture created by Brâncuși in 1910. It was originally sculpted in marble. Baroness Renée Irana Frachon, a good friend of Brâncuși, was the model. The bronze sculpture is held in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris.
I hope you like these 3 beautiful sculptures of Brâncuși. If you’re interested in finding other articles on our site about art, here it is: 10 classic painting posts you can find on tumblr.