Born in rural Romania, Brâncuși came to art through traditional crafts, learning woodworking techniques in his youth. After moving to Paris in 1904, he joined avant-garde artistic circles, where he drew on his craft-based training to develop a new approach to modern sculpture. Brâncuși directly carved his work from marble, limestone, and various woods, sometimes casting the results in bronze.
Using a vocabulary of simplified shapes that pushed towards abstraction, Brâncuși created imaginative sculptures that evoke rather than resemble their subjects. He frequently made multiple versions of the same work, returning to the same subjects—birds, newborn babies, female heads—again and again. His multi-part bases often combine several materials to achieve a variety of color and texture. As such, they, perform a dual function: they serve simultaneously as components of the artworks and as their supports.
Organized by Paulina Pobocha, Associate Curator, with Lydia Mullin, Charlotte Barat and Jennifer Harris, Curatorial Assistants, Department of Painting and Sculpture.