Collection 1880s–1940s


Constantin Brâncuși



Constantin Brâncuși. The Newborn. version I, 1920 (close to the marble of 1915). Bronze, 5 3/4 × 8 1/4 × 5 3/4" (14.6 × 21 × 14.6 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest (by exchange). © Succession Brancusi - All rights reserved (ARS) 2018
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 508 The David Geffen Wing

Born in rural Romania, Constantin Brâncuși came to art through traditional crafts, learning woodworking techniques in his youth. In 1904 he moved to Paris, where he was exposed to visual cultures from around the globe. Particularly important for Brâncuși were the materials and techniques of carved African sculpture, which were brought to the city via colonial networks. The artist synthesized these diverse references with his background in woodworking to develop his approach to sculpture.

Using a vocabulary of simplified shapes that pushed toward abstraction, Brâncuși created imaginative sculptures that evoke rather than resemble their subjects. He directly carved his works from marble, limestone, and wood and frequently made multiple versions, returning to the same subjects—birds, newborn babies, women’s heads—again and again. His multipart bases often combine several materials to achieve a variety of color and texture. As such, bases perform a dual function: they serve both as components of the artworks and as their supports.

Organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture with Rachel Remick, Curatorial Assistant.

7 works online

Installation images

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