Constantin Brancusi

Constantin Brancusi was born in 1876 in Hobitza in Romania, and studied at the School of Decorative Arts in Cracow, the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In France, he got to know Modigliani, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp. In the 1930s, he mixed with Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia and other Dada artists. He was not tied to a single artistic movement but did become part of the Parisian avant-garde. His sculptures depart from the nineteenth-century tendency towards naturalism, and demonstrate a marked interest in so-called ‘primitive’ sculpture. In 1905, along with the Surrealist Man Ray, Brancusi began to use photography as a way of documenting his work. Over his career, Brancusi worked with the extreme simplification of form. His experiments led to very original sculptural forms, which recognise the intimate, vital and organic qualities of the material. Many of his works in marble and bronze are variations on a limited number of themes: the Kiss, the face of a Sleeping Muse, the Bird and the Endless Column. A pioneer of the modern movement, Brancusi was among the greatest exponents of twentieth-century sculpture, and died in Paris on 16 March, 1957.

La Muse endormie – Slip of the Tongue