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Friday, October 23, 2015

Constantin Brancusi

Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) was a Romanian-born artist who is considered the pioneer of modern abstract sculpture. In his native country, he studied at the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts, as well as the Bucharest School of Fine Arts. Then in 1903 he set out on foot for Paris, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1905-1907.

He was influenced by Rodin, but in 1907 he was commissioned to create a funeral monument for a rich landowner. The result was The Prayer, a work which marked the beginning of his process of drastically simplifying his figures almost to the point of abstraction.

He was an avid wood carver, often executing his works in wood before using marble or bronze. Many of his wood carvings reflect his interest in African art and Romanian folk art.

In 1913, his works at the Armory Show in New York attracted international attention, resulting in the creation of loyal collectors around the globe, even though critics worldwide attacked his work as too radical.

In 1920, his sculpture entitled Princess X created a scandal. The police forced him to remove the work from the gallery, because they contended it led to phallic interpretation. In 1926, his Bird in Flight was confiscated by U. S. Customs on the way to a showing at the Brummer Gallery in New York. It was so abstract that officials did not believe it was art. He was accused of attempting to introduce an industrial part clandestinely into the United States.  He sued U. S. Customs and won a two-year court battle in 1928.

Brancusi died in Paris in 1957. He bequeathed his studio and its contents to the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris. His influence can clearly be seen in the works of mid-century pieces such as the forms in Eva Zeisel's Town and Country collection, the shapes of Architectural Pottery.

From and

The Prayer

Princess X

Une Muse

Bird in Space


Sleeping Muse

The Kiss

Endless Column

Table of Silence


  1. I'd seen many of these images before, but knew nothing of their creator - thank you for sharing the knowledge!

    1. I decided it was time to get back into research mode. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.