Constantin Brâncuși (Romanian: [konstanˈtin brɨŋˈkuʃʲ]; February 19, 1876 – March 16, 1957) was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Considered a pioneer of modernism, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century, Brâncuși is called the “patriarch of modern sculpture”. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1905 to 1907. His art emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși sought inspiration in non-European cultures as a source of primitive exoticism, as did Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Andre Derain and others. But other influences emerge from Romanian folk art traceable through Byzantine and Dionysian traditions.
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Constantin Brâncuși was one of the founding figures of modern sculpture and one of the most original artists of the twentieth-century. His groundbreaking carvings introduced abstraction and primitivism into sculpture for the first time, and were as important as Picasso’s paintings to the development of modern art.
Brâncuși’s serenely simplified sculptures are widely acknowledged as icons of modernism. His choice of materials including marble and limestone, bronze and wood, and his individual expression through carving, established him as a leading avant-garde artist. He was a close friend of both Amedeo Modigliani and Marcel Duchamp, and his work has inspired sculptors from Barbara Hepworth to Carl Andre and Donald Judd.
Brâncuși was born in Romania in 1876 and studied in Bucharest. In 1904 he moved to Paris, where he was to spend more than fifty years and where, from the mid-1920s, he established his studio as the calm backdrop to his work. He was encouraged by Auguste Rodin but, from 1907, he began a process of simplifying his figures to the point of abstraction. Forms of great purity and balance resulted from this refinement.
Excerpt from Tate’s Constantin Brâncuși: The essence of things / Read more