Brancusi is a pioneer of modernism and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century. His art was exhibited in famous and prominent museums and art halls like the Guggenheim museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern, London, Bozar, Brussels and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
An inspiring life story
Brancusi had a tough life but he fought for what he wanted. He was born in a family of poor peasants with six children in a village called Hobita, near Targu Jiu. As a child he had several jobs such as working for a green grocer at age 11 and then as a domestic at a public house.
At age 18 after carving a wooden violin, an industrialist noted his talent and helped him enroll in the School of Arts and Crafts in Craiova. After graduating with honours he continued his studies at the Bucharest School of Fine Arts.
At age 27 he decided to move to Paris and he walked there on foot. He first stopped in Budapest, Vienna and Munich where he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Here he also worked as a nurse so he can support himself. Finally, after one year and a half after leaving his Romanian village he reached Paris.
Once there he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts university and got a job as a dish washer. He was welcomed by the community of artists and started working with Rodin.
However, after 2 years he left Rodin and started sculpting in his own well known style. It is said that for years he did not earn enough money to eat and that one of his sculptures ” Bird in Space” was held at the US border because the officials did not think it is art.
Life in Paris
Although known to live a secluded life, Brancusi was friends with famous artists such as Picasso, Modigliani and Ezra Pound. He was also in touch with the Romanian community and was friends with George Enescu, Emil Cioran and Traian Vuia. While living in France he also became interested in photography and he built his own furniture and his own phonograph ( where he could listen to music). When he died, he left 1200 photographs behind and 215 sculptures.
Becoming recognized and famous
His works started to become famous in France, Romania and the US. Collectors such as John Quinn bought his work. In 1914 his work started to be displayed at the Salon des Independants and he had his first exhibition in the US. Peggy Guggenheim who called him a “half real god” started buying his work in the 1940’s.
In 1933 he became famous worldwide and he was hired to build a meditation temple in India, and then he created his famous Table of Silence, The Fate of the Kiss and the Endless Column. Now, his works sells for millions: Madame L.R. sold for 29 million euros in 2009, in 2018 the Portrait de Nancy Cunard was sold for 71 million dollars at Christie’s New York.
Here are some of Brancusi’s inspiring qoutes:
Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.
Things are not difficult to make; what is difficult is putting ourselves in the state of mind to make them.
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