He was the pioneer of the modern abstract sculpture, his bronze and marble works are characterized by a minimalist and elegant use of pure form and refined finishes. He was also a passionate woodcarving sculptor, performing many works often with influences of folk art. He is reknown for his abstract sculptures of ovoid heads and birds in mid-flight.
A central figure in modern artistic movement, Brancusi is considered one of the greatest sculptors of the twentieth century. His sculptures stand out by the elegance of the shape and the sensible use of materials, combining the simplicity of the Romanian folk art with the refinement of the artistic avant-garde. His work has profoundly influenced the modern concept of form in sculpture, painting or drawing.
Born on February 19, 1876, in the Hobita village, Gorj county, in Oltenia, Constantin Brâncuşi studied the art at Craiova School of Arts and Crafts between 1894-1988 and at the National School of Fine Arts in Bucharest between 1898 and 1902.
In 1903 he received the first order for a public monument, to make the bust of general practitioner Carol Davila. The sculpture was exhibited in the courtyard of the Central Military Hospital in Bucharest in 1912, being the only one exhibited in a public place in Bucharest.
In 1904, he moved to Paris eager to continue his education in a major arts center. The following year, he got accespted at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts.
In 1907 he worked as an apprentice in Auguste Rodin’s workshop, and after only a few months Brâncuşi will leave the place, saying the words “Rien ne pousse à l’ombre des grands arbres” (”There is nothing in the shade of the great trees”).
Also in 1907, Brâncuşi finished the first version of ”the Kiss”, a theme he will approach again and again, in various forms, until 1940.
After 1907, Brâncuşi’s artistic maturity period followed. He begins to use abstract forms and direct sculpting of the material, unlike the more common practice of making a pattern to be cast or executed by others. As his work technique evolves, it will be appreciated by the Parisian avant-garde.
Until 1914, he regularly participated in collective exhibitions in Paris and Bucharest with the beginnings of the ”Maiastra Birds” series, the ”Sleeping Muse”, ”Miss Pogany”. In 1914, Brancusi opened his first exhibition in the United States of America in New York, where he generated a huge sensation, his work being immediately bought by collectors.
In 1927, a historic process started in the United States to determine whether a version of Brâncuşi’s “Bird In Space” paper is to be taxed as a product or as a work of art. The court ruled, in 1928, that the sculpture was a work of art.
In 1935 Brâncuşi was commissioned to create a war memorial at Târgu Jiu, for which he designed a sculptural ensemble including ”the Table of Silence”, ”the Gate of the Kiss” and the monumental ”Endless Column”. The project embodies the preoccupations essential to Brâncuşi’s art, the idealization of the forms, the integration of architecture, sculpture and furniture, and the poetic evocation of spiritual thinking.
On March 15, 1957, in Paris, Constantin Brâncuşi died at the age of 81, being buried in the Montparnasse Cemetery.
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