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This is a stylised portrait of Margit Pogany, a Hungarian art student Brancusi met in Paris in 1910. He made a marble head of her from memory, then invited her to his studio. He was delighted when she recognised it. This is one of several bronzes based on the marble. Photographs show that Miss Pogany had a round face with large eyes and strong eyebrows, and wore her hair in a smooth chignon. Brancusi has refined her features down to the very purest form. The abstract curves of this piece, and of the other 'Danaïdes', can be seen as anticipating by some years, aspects of the classicising Art Deco style of the 1920s.

August 2004