Constantin Brâncuși Blond Negress II Paris 1933 (after a marble of 1928)

  • Not on view

In addition to drawing on the folk art of his native Romania, Brâncuși was one of many artists working in Paris during the 1920s who appropriated elements of African sculpture, which he saw in private collections and at Paris’s Musée d’Ethnographie. According to the artist, the series to which this work belongs was inspired by a woman he saw at the 1922 Colonial Exposition in Marseilles—one of the era’s many international fairs promoting European colonial dominance—whom he assumed to be of African descent. Brâncuși’s choice to isolate the figure’s hair and lips reflects Western stereotypes about the appearance of people from Africa. The work’s original French title, La Négresse blonde II, includes a dehumanizing term—“négresse”—which was historically used to exoticize and eroticize Black women.

Gallery label from 2023
Bronze 15 3/4" (40 cm) high, on four-part pedestal of marble 3 5/8" (9.1 cm) x 3 3/4" (9.4 cm) in diameter, limestone 9 7/8 x 14 5/8 x 14 1/8" (25 x 37.1 x 36.2 cm), and two oak sections (carved by the artist) 7 3/8 x 14 3/8 x 14 1/4" (18.6 x 36.3 x 36.2) and 35 1/2 x 11 x 11" (90.2 x 28 x 28 cm), overall 71 1/4 x 14 1/4 x 14 1/2" (181 x 36.2 x 36.8 cm)
The Philip L. Goodwin Collection
Object number
© Succession Brancusi - All rights reserved (ARS) 2018
Painting and Sculpture

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Provenance Research Project

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1934 Philipp L. Goodwin (acquired from Brummer Gallery)
1958 The Museum of Modern Art, New York (acquired from the above)

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