Constantin Brancusi

Constantin Brancusi
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(Romania, 1876-1957, active France)

One of the sculptors who revolutionized modern art, Constantin Brancusi, while relying upon natural forms, increasingly abstracted and simplified them into essential organic shapes. Not interested in traditional modeling, he preferred to carve directly into wood or stone to create his forms. In his bronzes, he sought a specific golden-yellow finish that was his particular invention. He would frequently polish the surfaces of the sculpture to enhance the reflection of light, and repeatedly returned to the same forms, altering the sculpture through changes in dimensions and materials. He also often designed the bases for his sculptures. Bird in Space is a form that Brancusi first addressed in polished bronze, and then returned to in white and black marble and bronze—altering the height and proportion over the course of twenty years. In each treatment the figure seems to soar elegantly as it swells from a slight base and arches into the air before gracefully tapering. This collection includes two versions of Bird in Space; one fifty-four inches and a second seventy-two inches, the larger of which has a particularly exhilarating sense of height. These are the first works by Brancusi to enter the museum’s collection.

- Stephanie Barron, Senior Curator, Modern Art, 2007
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