Constantin Brancusi
Overview
Constantin Brâncuşi was a Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n-born sculptor
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 who made his career in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest
Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

, then to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, then to the École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts refers to a number of influential art schools in France. The most famous is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, now located on the left bank in Paris, across the Seine from the Louvre, in the 6th arrondissement. The school has a history spanning more than 350 years,...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. His abstract style
Abstract art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

 emphasizes clean geometrical lines
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

 of representational art. Famous Brâncuşi works include the Sleeping Muse (1908), The Kiss (1908), Prometheus (1911), Mademoiselle Pogany (1913), The Newborn (1915), Bird in Space
Bird in Space
Bird in Space is a series of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor. The original work was created in 1923...

(1919) and The Column of the Infinite (Coloana infinitului)
Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu
The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu is a homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: the Table of Silence, the Gate of the Kiss and the Column of the Infinite, on an axis 1,300 m long, oriented west to east...

, popularly known as The Endless Column (1938).
Encyclopedia
Constantin Brâncuşi was a Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n-born sculptor
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 who made his career in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest
Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

, then to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, then to the École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts refers to a number of influential art schools in France. The most famous is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, now located on the left bank in Paris, across the Seine from the Louvre, in the 6th arrondissement. The school has a history spanning more than 350 years,...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. His abstract style
Abstract art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

 emphasizes clean geometrical lines
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

 of representational art. Famous Brâncuşi works include the Sleeping Muse (1908), The Kiss (1908), Prometheus (1911), Mademoiselle Pogany (1913), The Newborn (1915), Bird in Space
Bird in Space
Bird in Space is a series of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor. The original work was created in 1923...

(1919) and The Column of the Infinite (Coloana infinitului)
Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu
The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu is a homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: the Table of Silence, the Gate of the Kiss and the Column of the Infinite, on an axis 1,300 m long, oriented west to east...

, popularly known as The Endless Column (1938). Considered the pioneer of modernism
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 Brâncuşi is called the Patriarch of Modern Sculpture.

Early years

Brâncuşi grew up in the village of Hobiţa
Pestisani
Peştişani is a commune in Gorj County, Romania. It is composed of seven villages: Boroşteni, Brădiceni, Frânceşti, Gureni, Hobiţa, Peştişani and Seuca.Hobiţa village is the birthplace of sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi....

 Romania, Gorj
Gorj County
Gorj is a county of Romania, in Oltenia, with its capital city at Târgu Jiu.- Demographics :In 2002, it had a population of 387,308 and its population density was 69/km².* Romanians – over 98%* Rromas, others.- Geography :...

, near Târgu Jiu
Târgu Jiu
Târgu Jiu is the capital of Gorj County, Oltenia, Romania. It is situated on the Southern Sub-Carpathians, on the banks of the river Jiu. Eight villages are administered by the city: Bârseşti, Drăgoeni, Iezureni, Polata, Preajba Mare, Româneşti, Slobozia and Ursaţi.-History:The city takes its name...

, close to Romania's Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

, an area known for its rich tradition of folk crafts
Folk art
Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic....

, particularly woodcarving. Geometric patterns of the region are seen in his later works.

His parents Nicolae and Maria Brâncuşi were poor peasants who earned a meager living through back-breaking labor; from the age of seven, Constantin herded the family's flock of sheep. He showed talent for carving objects out of wood, and often ran away from home to escape the bullying of his father and older brothers.

At the age of nine, Brâncuşi left the village to work in the nearest large town. At 11 he went into the service of a grocer in Slatina; and then he became a domestic in a public house in Craiova where he remained for several years. When he was 18, Brâncuși created a violin by hand with materials he found around his workplace. Impressed by Brâncuşi's talent for carving, an industrialist entered him in the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts (Şcoala de arte si meserii), where he pursued his love for woodworking, graduating with honors in 1898.

He then enrolled in the Bucharest School of Fine Arts, where he received academic training in sculpture. He worked hard, and quickly distinguished himself as talented. One of his earliest surviving works, under the guidance of his anatomy teacher, Dimitrie Gerota
Dimitrie Gerota
Dimitrie D. Gerota , Romanian anatomist, physician, radiologist, urologist, and an associated member of the Romanian Academy from 1916.-Biography:...

, is a masterfully rendered écorché
Écorché
An écorché is a figure drawn, painted, or sculpted showing the muscles of the body without skin. Renaissance architect and theorist, Leon Battista Alberti recommended that when painters intend to depict a nude, they should first arrange the muscles and bones, then depict the overlying...

 (statue of a man with skin removed to reveal the muscles underneath) which was exhibited at the Romanian Athenaeum
Romanian Athenaeum
The Romanian Athenaeum is a concert hall in the center of Bucharest, Romania and a landmark of the Romanian capital city. Opened in 1888, the ornate, domed, circular building is the city's main concert hall and home of the "George Enescu" Philharmonic and of the George Enescu annual international...

 in 1903. Though just an anatomical study, it foreshadowed the sculptor's later efforts to reveal essence rather than merely copy outward appearance.

Working in Paris

In 1903, Brâncuşi traveled to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, and from there to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. In Paris, he was welcomed by the community of artists and intellectuals brimming with new ideas. He worked for two years in the workshop of Antonin Mercié
Antonin Mercié
Marius Jean Antonin Mercié , was a French sculptor and painter.- Life :Mercié was born in Toulouse. He entered the École des Beaux Arts, Paris, and studied under Alexandre Falguière and François Jouffroy, and in 1868 gained the Grand Prix de Rome at the age of 23...

 of the École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts refers to a number of influential art schools in France. The most famous is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, now located on the left bank in Paris, across the Seine from the Louvre, in the 6th arrondissement. The school has a history spanning more than 350 years,...

, and was invited to enter the workshop of Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin
François-Auguste-René Rodin , known as Auguste Rodin , was a French sculptor. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past...

. Even though he admired the eminent Rodin he left the Rodin studio after only two months, saying, "Nothing can grow under big trees."

After leaving Rodin's workshop, Brâncuşi began developing the revolutionary style for which he is known. His first commissioned work, "The Prayer", was part of a gravestone memorial. It depicts a young woman crossing herself as she kneels, and marks the first step toward abstracted, non-literal representation, and shows his drive to depict "not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things." He also began doing more carving, rather than the method popular with his contemporaries, that of modeling in clay or plaster which would be cast in metal, and by 1908 he worked almost exclusively by carving.

In the following few years he made many versions of "Sleeping Muse" and "The Kiss
The Kiss (Brancusi sculpture)
The Kiss is a sculpture by Constantin Brâncuşi. It is an example of his abstracted, non-literal representation style. He created many versions of The Kiss, further simplifying forms to geometrical and sparse objects in each version; one serves as a tombstone in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris,...

", further simplifying forms to geometrical and sparse objects.

His works became popular in France, Romania and the United States. Collectors, notably John Quinn
John Quinn (collector)
John Quinn was a second generation Irish-American corporate lawyer in New York, who for a time was an important patron of major figures of post-impressionism and literary modernism, and collector in particular of original manuscripts.- Life :...

, bought his pieces, and reviewers praised his works. In 1913 Brâncuşi's work was displayed at both the Salon des Indépendants and the first exhibition in the U.S. of modern art, the Armory Show
Armory Show
Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors...

.

In 1920, he developed a notorious reputation with the entry of "Princess X" http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/51035.html in the Salon. The phallic shape of the piece scandalized the Salon, and despite Brâncuşi's explanation that it was an anonymous portrait, removed it from the exhibition. "Princess X" was revealed to be Princess Marie Bonaparte
Princess Marie Bonaparte
Princess Marie Bonaparte was a French author and psychoanalyst, closely linked with Sigmund Freud. Her wealth contributed to the popularity of psychoanalysis, and enabled Freud's escape from Nazi Germany....

, direct descendant of the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. Brâncuşi represented or caricatured her life as a large gleaming bronze phallus
Phallus
A phallus is an erect penis, a penis-shaped object such as a dildo, or a mimetic image of an erect penis. Any object that symbolically resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic...

. This phallus symbolizes the model's obsession with the penis and her lifelong quest to achieve vaginal orgasm, with the help of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

.

Around this time he began crafting the bases for his sculptures with much care and originality because he considered them important to the works themselves.

He began working on the group of sculptures that are known as "Bird in Space" — simple shapes representing a bird in flight. The works are based on his earlier "Măiastra" http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/inglese/collections/artisti/dettagli/brancusi_maiastra.html series. In Romanian folklore the Măiastra is a beautiful golden bird who foretells the future and cures the blind. Over the following 20 years, Brâncuşi would make 20-some versions of "Bird in Space" out of marble or bronze.
Photographer Edward Steichen
Edward Steichen
Edward J. Steichen was an American photographer, painter, and art gallery and museum curator. He was the most frequently featured photographer in Alfred Stieglitz' groundbreaking magazine Camera Work during its run from 1903 to 1917. Steichen also contributed the logo design and a custom typeface...

 purchased one of the "birds" in 1926 and shipped it to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. However, the customs
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is a federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs and immigration. CBP is the...

 officers did not accept the "bird" as a work of art and placed a duty upon its import as an industrial item. They charged the high tax placed upon raw metals instead of the no tax on art. A trial the next year overturned the assessment. Athena Tacha
Athena Tacha
Athena Tacha , is best known in the fields of environmental public sculpture and conceptual art, but has also worked extensively in photography, film and artists’ books...

 Spear's book, Brâncuşi's Birds, (CAA monographs XXI, NYU Press, New York, 1969), first sorted out the 36 versions and their development, from the early Măiastra, to the Golden Bird of the late teens, to the Bird in Space, which emerged in the early '20s and which Brâncuşi perfected throughout his life.

His work became popular in the U.S., however, and he visited several times during his life. Worldwide fame in 1933 brought him the commission of building a meditation temple in India for Maharajah of Indore, but when Brâncuşi went to India in 1937 to complete the plans and begin construction, the Mahrajah was away and lost interest in the project when he returned.

In 1938, he finished the World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 monument in Târgu-Jiu where he had spent much of his childhood. "Table of Silence", "The Gate of the Kiss", and "Endless Column" commemorate the courage and sacrifice of Romanian civilians who in 1916 fought off a German invasion. The restoration of this ensemble was spearheaded by the World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund
World Monuments Fund is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grantmaking, education, and training....

 and was completed in 2004.

The Târgu Jiu ensemble
Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu
The Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuşi at Târgu Jiu is a homage to the Romanian heroes of the First World War. The ensemble comprises three sculptures: the Table of Silence, the Gate of the Kiss and the Column of the Infinite, on an axis 1,300 m long, oriented west to east...

 marks the apex of his artistic career. In his remaining 19 years he created less than 15 pieces, mostly reworking earlier themes, and while his fame grew he withdrew. In 1956 Life magazine reported, "Wearing white pajamas and a yellow gnomelike cap, Brâncuşi today hobbles about his studio tenderly caring for and communing with the silent host of fish birds, heads, and endless columns which he created."

Brâncuşi was cared for in his later years by a Romanian refugee couple. He became a French citizen in 1952 in order to make the caregivers his heirs, and to bequeath his studio and its contents to the Musée National d'Art Moderne
Musée National d'Art Moderne
The Musée National d'Art Moderne is the national museum for modern art of France. It is located in Paris and is housed in the Centre Pompidou in the 4th arrondissement of the city. Created in 1947, it was then housed in the Palais de Tokyo and moved to its current location in 1977...

 in Paris

Personal life

Brâncuşi always dressed in the simple ways the Romanian peasants did. His studio was reminiscent of the houses of the peasants from his native region: there was a big slab of rock as a table and a primitive fireplace, similar to those found in traditional houses in his native Oltenia
Oltenia
Oltenia is a historical province and geographical region of Romania, in western Wallachia. It is situated between the Danube, the Southern Carpathians and the Olt river ....

, while the rest of the furniture was made by him out of wood. Brâncuși would cook his own food, traditional Romanian dishes
Romanian cuisine
Romanian cuisine is a diverse blend of different dishes from several traditions with which it has come into contact, but it also maintains its own character...

, with which he would treat his guests.

Brâncuşi held a large spectrum of interests, from science to music. He was a good violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist and he would sing old Romanian folk songs, often expressing by them his feelings of homesickness. Nevertheless, he never considered moving back to his native Romania, but he did visit it eight times.

His circle of friends included artists and intellectuals in Paris such as Amedeo Modigliani
Amedeo Modigliani
Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was an Italian painter and sculptor who worked mainly in France. Primarily a figurative artist, he became known for paintings and sculptures in a modern style characterized by mask-like faces and elongation of form...

, Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist movement in poetry...

, Henri Pierre Roché, Guillaume Apollinaire
Guillaume Apollinaire
Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, known as Guillaume Apollinaire was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic born in Italy to a Polish mother....

, Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

, Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray , born Emmanuel Radnitzky, was an American artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. Perhaps best described simply as a modernist, he was a significant contributor to both the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal...

, Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Duchamp's output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art...

, Henri Rousseau
Henri Rousseau
Henri Julien Félix Rousseau was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner. He was also known as Le Douanier , a humorous description of his occupation as a toll collector...

, and Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger
Joseph Fernand Henri Léger was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of Cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style...

. He was an old friend of Romany Marie
Romany Marie
Marie Marchand , known as Romany Marie, was a Greenwich Village restaurateur who played a key role in bohemianism from the early 1900s through the late 1950s in New York City's Manhattan.- Romany Marie's cafés :...

, who was also Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n, and referred Isamu Noguchi
Isamu Noguchi
was a prominent Japanese American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920s onward. Known for his sculpture and public works, Noguchi also designed stage sets for various Martha Graham productions, and several mass-produced lamps and furniture pieces,...

 to her café
Café
A café , also spelled cafe, in most countries refers to an establishment which focuses on serving coffee, like an American coffeehouse. In the United States, it may refer to an informal restaurant, offering a range of hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches...

 in Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

.
Although surrounded by the Parisian avant-garde, Brâncuși never lost the contact with Romania and had friends from the community of Romanian artists and intellectuals living in Paris, including Benjamin Fondane
Benjamin Fondane
Benjamin Fondane or Benjamin Fundoianu was a Romanian and French poet, critic and existentialist philosopher, also noted for his work in film and theater. Known from his Romanian youth as a Symbolist poet and columnist, he alternated Neoromantic and Expressionist themes with echoes from Tudor...

, George Enescu
George Enescu
George Enescu was a Romanian composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher.-Biography:Enescu was born in the village of Liveni , Dorohoi County at the time, today Botoşani County. He showed musical talent from early in his childhood. A child prodigy, Enescu created his first musical...

, Theodor Pallady
Theodor Pallady
Theodor Pallady was a Romanian painter.-Biography:Pallady was born in Iaşi, but at a young age, his family moved to Dresden, where he studied engineering at the Dresden University of Technology between 1887 and 1889. At the same time, he studied art with Erwin Oehme, who, recognising his artistic...

, Camil Ressu
Camil Ressu
Camil Ressu was a Romanian painter and academic, one of the most significant art figures of Romania.-Early life and career:Born in Galaţi, Ressu originated from an Aromanian family that migrated to Romania from Macedonia at the start of the 19th century. His father, Constantin Ressu, who was a...

, Nicolae Dărăscu
Nicolae Darascu
Nicolae Dărăscu was a Romanian painter. He was influenced by Impressionism and Neo-impressionism.-Biography:...

, Panait Istrati
Panait Istrati
Panait Istrati was a Romanian writer of French and Romanian expression, nicknamed The Maxim Gorky of the Balkans. Istrati was first noted for the depiction of one homosexual character in his work.-Early life:...

, Traian Vuia
Traian Vuia
Traian Vuia was a Romanian inventor and aviation pioneer who designed, builtand flew an early aircraft. His first flight traveled about 12 m at Montesson, France on March 18, 1906...

, Eugène Ionesco
Eugène Ionesco
Eugène Ionesco was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, and one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd...

, Emil Cioran
Emil Cioran
-Early life:Emil M. Cioran was born in Răşinari, Sibiu County, which was part of Austria-Hungary at the time. His father, Emilian Cioran, was a Romanian Orthodox priest, while his mother, Elvira Cioran , was originally from Veneţia de Jos, a commune near Făgăraş.After studying humanities at the...

 and Paul Celan
Paul Celan
Paul Celan was a poet and translator...

.

Brâncuşi held a particular interest in mythology, especially Romanian mythology, folk tales, and traditional art (which also had a strong influence on his works), but he became interested in African and Mediterranean art as well.

A talented handyman, he built his own phonograph, and made most of his furniture, utensils, and doorways. His worldview valued "differentiating the essential from the ephemeral," with Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, Lao-Tzu, and Milarepa
Milarepa
Jetsun Milarepa , is generally considered one of Tibet's most famous yogis and poets. He was a student of Marpa Lotsawa, and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.- Life :...

 as influences. He was a saint-like idealist and near ascetic, turning his workshop into a place where visitors noted the deep spiritual atmosphere. However, particularly through the 10s and 20s, he was known as a pleasure seeker and merrymaker in his bohemian
Bohemianism
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits...

 circle. He enjoyed cigarettes, good wine, and the company of women. He had one child, John Moore, whom he never acknowledged.

Death and legacy

He died on March 16, 1957 at the age of 81 leaving 1200 photographs and 215 sculptures. He was buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris. Also located in that cemetery are statues carved by Brâncuşi for several fellow artists who died; the best-known of these is "Le Baiser" ("The Kiss").

His works are housed in the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 (New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

), the National Museum of Art of Romania
National Museum of Art of Romania
The National Museum of Art of Romania is located in the former royal palace in Revolution Square, central Bucharest, Romania, completed in 1937...

 (Bucharest
Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

), and the National Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden is a national art museum, located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, in Washington, DC...

 (Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

), as well as in other major museums around the world. The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

 currently has the largest collection of Brâncuşi sculptures in the United States.

A reconstruction of Brâncuşi's onetime studio in Paris is open to the public. It is close to the Pompidou Centre, in the rue Rambuteau. After being refused by the Romanian Communist government, he bequeathed part of his collection to the French state
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 on condition that his workshop be rebuilt as it was on the day he died.

Brâncuşi was elected posthumously to the Romanian Academy
Romanian Academy
The Romanian Academy is a cultural forum founded in Bucharest, Romania, in 1866. It covers the scientific, artistic and literary domains. The academy has 181 acting members who are elected for life....

 in 1990.

In 2002, a sculpture by Brâncuşi named "Danaide" was sold for $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

18.1 million, the highest that a sculpture piece had ever sold for at auction. In May 2005, a piece from the "Bird in Space
Bird in Space
Bird in Space is a series of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor. The original work was created in 1923...

" series broke that record, selling for $
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

27.5 million in a Christie's
Christie's
Christie's is an art business and a fine arts auction house.- History :The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766...

 auction. In the Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale on February 23, 2009, another sculpture of Brâncuşi, "Madame L.R.", was sold for €29.185 million ($37.2 million), setting a new historical record.

In 2011, Google commemorated his 135th birthday with a tribute on their main page.

Brâncuşi on his own work

"" "There are idiots who define my work as abstract; yet what they call abstract is what is most realistic. What is real is not the appearance, but the idea, the essence of things."
"" "Don’t look for mysteries; I bring you pure joy."
"" "I ground matter to find the continuous line. And when I realized I could not find it, I stopped, as if an unseen someone had slapped my hands."
""
"Work like a slave; command like a king; create like a god."

Selected works



Both Bird in Space
Bird in Space
Bird in Space is a series of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor. The original work was created in 1923...

and Sleeping Muse I are sculptures of animate objects; however, unlike ones from Ancient Greece or Rome, or those from the High Renaissance period, these works of art are more abstract in style.

Bird in Space
Bird in Space
Bird in Space is a series of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor. The original work was created in 1923...

is a series from the 1920s. One of these, constructed in 1925 using wood, stone, and marble (Richler 178) stands around 72 inches tall and consists of a narrow feather standing erect on a wooden base. Similar models, but made from materials such as bronze, were also produced by Brâncuşi and placed in exhibitions.

Sleeping Muse I has different versions as well; one, from 1909–10, is made of marble and measures 6 ¾ in. in height (Adams 549). This is a model of a head, without a body, with markings to show features such as hair, nose, lips, and closed eyes. In A History of Western Art, Adams says that the sculpture has “an abstract, curvilinear quality and a smooth contour that create an impression of elegance” (549). The qualities which produce the effect can particularly be seen in the shape of the eyes and in the set of the mouth.

Other works

  • Bust of a boy (1906)
  • The Prayer (1907)
  • La Sagesse de la Terre (1908)
  • Mademoiselle Pogany (1912), Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Philadelphia Museum of Art
    The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

  • Miss Pogany (1913) drawing, the Botarro Collection
  • The Kiss. 1916, Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Philadelphia Museum of Art
    The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

  • Madame L.R. (1914–1918)
  • A Muse (1917)
  • Chimera (1918)
  • Eileen Lane (1922), the Botarro Collection
  • Bird in Space
    Bird in Space
    Bird in Space is a series of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuşi, a Romanian sculptor. The original work was created in 1923...

    , 1924, Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Philadelphia Museum of Art
    The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

  • Portrait of Nancy Cunard (also called Sophisticated Young Lady) (1925–1927)
  • Le Coq (1935)

In fiction

  • In the 1988 movie Short Circuit 2
    Short Circuit 2
    Short Circuit 2 is a 1988 comedy science fiction film, the sequel to 1986's film Short Circuit. It was directed by Kenneth Johnson, and starred Fisher Stevens as Ben Jahrvi , Michael McKean as Fred Ritter, Cynthia Gibb as Sandy Banatoni, and Tim Blaney as the voice of Johnny 5 Short Circuit 2 is a...

    , a man walking through an outdoor exhibition
    Art exhibition
    Art exhibitions are traditionally the space in which art objects meet an audience. The exhibit is universally understood to be for some temporary period unless, as is rarely true, it is stated to be a "permanent exhibition". In American English, they may be called "exhibit", "exposition" or...

     speculates that the stationary Johnny 5 robot
    Robot
    A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

    , who is also admiring the exhibit, is "an early Brâncuşi."
  • In the 2000 film Mission to Mars
    Mission to Mars
    Mission to Mars is a 2000 science fiction film directed by Brian De Palma from an original screenplay written by Jim Thomas, John Thomas, and Graham Yost. The film's story details a fictional portrayal of a manned Mars exploration mission gone awry in the year 2020...

    , the "Face on Mars" is modeled after Brâncuşi's "Sleeping Muse".

External links

http://www.see-romania.com/2011/02/thethe-gate-of-the-kiss-constantin-brancusi/

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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