Monday, April 4, 2011

Constantin Brâncuşi

Constantin Brâncuşi

Constantin Brâncuşi's sculptures

Sleeping Muse by Constantin Brâncuşi

Endless Column by Constantin Brâncuşi

Bird in Space Constantin Brâncuşi

Constantin Brâncuşi

Quick Rundown**

* His abstract style emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art.

* Brâncuşi grew up in the village of Hobiţa Romania.

* His parents Nicolae and Maria Brâncuşi were poor peasants who earned a meager living through back-breaking labor; from the age of seven, Constantin herded the family's flock of sheep. He showed talent for carving objects out of wood, and often ran away from home to escape the bullying of his father and older brothers.

* At the age of nine, Brâncuşi left the village to work in the nearest large town. At 11 he went into the service of a grocer in Slatina; and then he became a domestic in a public house in Craiova where he remained for several years. When he was 18, impressed by Brâncuşi's talent for carving, an industrialist entered him in the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts (Şcoala de meserii), where he pursued his love for woodworking, graduating with honors in 1898.

* He then enrolled in the Bucharest School of Fine Arts, where he received academic training in sculpture. He worked hard, and quickly distinguished himself as talented.

* In 1903 Brâncuşi traveled to Munich, and from there to Paris. In Paris, he was welcomed by the community of artists and intellectuals brimming with new ideas. He worked for two years in the workshop of Antonin Mercié of the École des Beaux-Arts, and was invited to enter the workshop of Auguste Rodin. Even though he admired the eminent Rodin he left the Rodin studio after only two months, saying, "Nothing can grow under big trees.”

* He had a drive to depict "not the outer form but the idea, the essence of things."

* He began working on the group of sculptures that are known as "Bird in Space" — simple shapes representing a bird in flight. The works are based on his earlier "Măiastra" series. In Romanian folklore the Măiastra is a beautiful golden bird who foretells the future and cures the blind.

* Brâncuşi always dressed in the simple ways the Romanian peasants did. Brâncuși would cook his own food, traditional Romanian dishes, with which he would treat his guests.

* His circle of friends included artists and intellectuals in Paris such as Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Henri Rousseau.

* Brâncuşi held a particular interest in mythology, especially Romanian mythology, folk tales, and traditional art (which also had a strong influence on his works), but he became interested in African and Mediterranean art as well.

* A talented handyman, he built his own phonograph, and made most of his furniture, utensils, and doorways.

* His worldview valued "differentiating the essential from the ephemeral.” He was an idealist, turning his workshop into a place where visitors noted the deep spiritual atmosphere.

* However, particularly through the 10s and 20s, he was known as a pleasure seeker and merrymaker in his bohemian circle. He enjoyed cigarettes, good wine, and the company of women. He had one child, John Moore, whom he never acknowledged.

* He died on March 16, 1957 at the age of 81 leaving 1200 photographs and 215 sculptures.

* In 2002, a sculpture by Brâncuşi named "Danaide" was sold for $18.1 million, the highest that a sculpture piece had ever sold for at auction. In May 2005, a piece from the "Bird in Space" series broke that record, selling for $27.5 million in a Christie's auction. In the Yves Saint Laurent/Pierre Bergé sale on February 23, 2009, another sculpture of Brâncuşi, "Madame L.R.", was sold for $37.2 million, setting a new historical record.

** SOURCE: Wikipedia

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