Constantin Brancusi

1876–1957

Constantin Brancusi, ‘Danaïde’ c.1918
Danaïde c.1918
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017
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Biography

Constantin Brâncuși (Romanian: [konstanˈtin brɨŋˈkuʃʲ] ( listen); February 19, 1876 – March 16, 1957) was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Considered a pioneer of modernism, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century, Brâncuși is called the patriarch of modern sculpture. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1905 to 1907. His art emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși sought inspiration in non-European cultures as a source of primitive exoticism, as did Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, André Derain and others. But other influences emerge from Romanian folk art traceable through Byzantine and Dionysian traditions.

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