The Newborn

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Constantin Brancusi

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The Newborn

Constantin Brancusi. The Newborn. version I, 1920 (close to the marble of 1915). Bronze, 5 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 5 3/4" (14.6 x 21 x 14.6 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Audio Program excerpt

MoMA Audio: Collection

2008

Curator, Ann Temkin: Brancusi originally came from Romania. He lived in the middle of Paris, but wore peasant clothes, cooked on his forge and lived a very, very non-materialistic life.

What makes one Brancusi sculpture work is in fact what makes the whole ensemble of them work: its contrast between what are often very different shapes, textures, and colors.

Brancusi's work was spoken about by critics as very simple. And he, too, liked to speak of it as just the essential. And for this reason, people who took him at his word really misunderstood his work because to make something look simple is the hardest thing of all. To get a cruciform just right, to get the balance of an oval just right, to get the soaring, abstracted concept of a bird right, to get that sense of grace, that sense of balance, is really the work of extreme skill.