CRITICAL REVIEW

In 1907 he is accepted as practitioner in Rodin's studio, that he will later leave with pride and confidence, comparing his master with a tree in whose shadow the grass doesn’t grow. Brâncuşi will now create The portret of Nicolae Daraşcu, A Boy’s Bust, A Boy’s Head, Torture (1906), then The Prayer and The Portret of Petre Stănescu, which is a funeral tombstone for Buzău (1907).
            The artist ist starting to be confident on his way of life. The fine modelling, sensible to the light effects, is receding away from the impressionist incidents (Rodin) for starting a long fight for catching the essence, which is durable, removed from the moment. Wisdom of the earth, a first version of The Kiss(1907), The Sleep(1908), The Sleeping Muse(1909-1910), The Majestic Bird(1910), Prometheus(1911), Pogany Miss (series 1912-1933), The First Step(1913). Those are works that will mark the orientation to archaic art values of the black or oceanic ethnic.
            In this period he makes friends with Modigliani. Another friend of his, the painter Henri Rousseau, will tell Brancusi the prophetic words: “…you have turned the old into the modern…”. The Sculptor – becoming better known – is being successful in New York, where in his first personal exhibition at “Photo Secession Gallery” due to Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. In his workshop, many young artists will come to work: Irina Codreanu, Miliţa Petraşcu, Constantin Antinovici, Isamu Noguchi, George Teodorescu, and so on. The sculptor will search the fundamental principles of the form, stripping it from its ephemeral aspects. The abatement to the structure of the organic forms, take place with the orientation towards the primal forms, towards the life’s ankle horizon.(The Princess X, 1916;  The New born, 1920; Lady Pogany, Leda, 1920; The Beginning of the World, 1924).
The Bird in the Air series, brings the idea of the space lifting, the possibility of the transcending existence framework. Brancusi manages to cancel the gravitational effects, dematerializing with a long polishing process the volumes. Sometimes – the case of Never-ending Columns (1918-1928) the elevation idea is reassured by the vertical ascension of geometrical modules. It’s a period in which the sculptor makes sketches on command –not finished – of Yetswart Rao Holkar Bahadur Maharaja, for a Meditation Temple (1933). Brancusi comes to Romania starting The National women league from Targu-Jiu, that wants to dedicate a monument for homeland fallen heroes in the 1st world war. He makes the Silence Table triptych, The Gate of the Kiss, and The Never-ending column (1937-1938) – the great artist’s masterpiece.
Here, as well as in other works of his, Brancusi rediscovers the popular art’s dimensions, the entire cultural patrimony’s dimensions which he introduces in the stirred ambience of modern art. A clear solar principle which stands at the base of a need of order and reason, leads the endeavour of the popular artist to getting close to the reality essences. The positive attitude that springs from this life phenomenon approach, will transform Brancusi into one of the creators that decisively marked the evolution of the modern sculpture. He proposes – with an unique echo in the artistic conscience of the first half of the century, echo that lives with prestige in today’s art – a new integration of spirituality and sensitivity placed into the structure of the characteristic forms which get to us “from the dawn of the old times”. The form’s ascesis, the geometry’s fascination imposing a Cartesian rigor in space apprehension will meet this permanent anthropocentric tension, expressed with warmth, and an emotional understanding. The revelation of the ancient culture offers not just a sum of morphologies (real morphologies, but also reduced to a scenic invoked by some of his exegetes – but mostly, a moral and a philosophical structure.
            Taking over language elements from the popular culture, Brancus heap his work with miraculous forces. Illuminated by the cult of homeland and his ancestors, the sculptor, is fascinated by the dawn of the birth of the human being, unveiling in the immemorial life flux the crucial moments of the life – the birth, the love, the hard work, the creation, the death. The closed circular space of the great dacian sanctuaries from the Orastie’s Mountains, measuring the flow of time, and maintaining the spirit awake, is rendered by Brancusi with the desire of sacralising a place, an evoking spot, where the times – the past, the present and the future – are unifying.
            Ascending imperative on a vertical scale, The Column hides in its simplicity, the constructive effort to keep the ascending of the human spirit pure and persistent, and its aspiration towards the light, and reason. The promised transcesis by the Birds In The Air series and Majestic, acquires in the Column functionality, an overwhelming meaning, directing the ones who fell in the “valley of mourning” towards the holy land.

Alexandra Titu


IMAGES



    BIOGRAPHY

    (Hobița-Peștișani, Gorj, 1876 - Paris, 1957)

    Academic Studies:
    1894 - 1898 - ocational school, Craiova;
    1898 - 1902 – National School of beautiful Arts, Bucharest;
    1905 - scholarship in France, he enrolled at the School of Fine Arts, in the Antonin Mercié’s class. Proffessors: Ion Georgescu, Vladimir C. Hegel (at Bucharest), Antonim Mercié (at Paris).
    1907 - Rodin's studio practitioner.


    PROJECTS

    Personal exhibitions:
    1913 - The Photo-Secession Gallery, New York, SUA;
    1914, 1916, 1926, 1933, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1969, 1976, 1978, 1989, 1996 - New York, SUA (D.A.);
    1926 - 1927 - Chicago, SUA (D.A.);
    1955 - 1956, 1995 - Philadelphia, SUA (D.A.);
    1956 - National Art Museum of Romania, Bucharest (D.A.);
    1958 - Târgu Jiu, Gorj (D.A.);
    1967 - National Art Museum of Romania, Bucharest (D.A.);
             - Paris, France (D.A.);
    1970 - National Art Museum of Romania, Bucharest (D.A.);
             - Haga, Netherlands (D.A.);
    1975 - Paris, France (D.A.);
    1976 - Bucharest (D.A.);
             - Craiova (D.A.);
             - Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Klassiker Morder Plastik, Duisburg, Germany (D.A.);
             - Zürich, Switzerland (D.A.);
    1977 - Paris, France (D.A.);
             - Tokio, Japan  (D.A.);
    1978 - Tokio, Japan (D.A.);
    1980 - London, United Kingdom (D.A.);
    1982 - Cardiff, Wales (D.A.);
    1984 - Hamburg, Germany (D.A.);
    1985, 1991, 1995 - Paris, France (D.A.).

    Group Exhibitions:
    1906 - 1909 - Salon d‛automne, Paris, France (D.A.);
    1907, 1908 - Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (D.A.);
    1910, 1912 - Salon des artistes indépendants, Paris, France (D.A.);
    1907 - 1910, 1913, 1914, 1928 – Artistic Youth, Bucharest (D.A.);
    1913 - Armory Show, International Exhibition of Modern Art, New York, SUA;
             - Internationale Kunstausstellung Glasspalast, München, Germany (D.A.);
    1920, 1928 - Romanian Art, Bucharest (D.A.);
    1924 - Venice Biennale, Italy (D.A.);
             - Contemporary, Bucharest (D.A.);
    1927 - Exposition d‛art roumain, Congres de la Presse Latine, Touraine, France (D.A.);
    1929 - Official Salon, Bucharest (D.A.);
    1930 - Romanian Art Exhibition - Amsterdam, Netherlands (D.A.);
                                                                - Haga, Netherlands (D.A.);
                                                                - Bruxelles, Belgium (D.A.);
    1933 - Brummer Gallery, New York, SUA (D.A.);
    1942 - "Art House" Gallery Bucharest (D.A.);
    1943 – Oltenia Week Craiova, Dolj (D.A.);
    1956 - 1957 – Art Museum, Craiova, Dolj (D.A.);
    1957 - Triennale in Milan, Italy (D.A.);
    1959 - Romanian Art Exhibition - Belgrad, Serbia (D.A.);
                                                                - Budapesta, Hungary  (D.A.);
    1960 - Romanian Art Exhibition - Bratislava, Slovakia (D.A.);
                                                                - Prague, Czech Republic (D.A.);
                                                                - Berlin, Germanu (D.A.);
    1961 - Exposition Internationale de Sculpture, Musée Rodin, Paris, France (D.A.);
             - L‛art roumain du XIX² siècle à nos jours, Paris, France (D.A.);
    1963 - Viena Künstlerhaus, Austria (D.A.);
    1966 - Romanian Art of the XXth Century, Londra Royal College of Art, Great Britain (D.A.);
    1969 - The Art Institute, a Retrospective Exhibition, Chicago, SUA (D.A.);
             - A Retrospective Exhibition, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (D.A.);
    1974 - Pioneers of Modern Sculpture Exhibition, Hayward Gallery, London, Great Britain (D.A.);
    1978 - Hundred Years of Romanian Art 1870 - 1970, Somerset House and Victoria and Albert Museum, Londra, Great Britain (D.A.);
    1986 - Qu‛est que la sculpture moderne?, Musée National d‛Art Moderne, Paris, France (D.A.);
    1990 - Masterpieces from Romanian Museums, Gagosian Gallery, New York, SUA (D.A.);
    1995 - Exposition Retrospective, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Musée National d‛Art Moderne, Paris, France (D.A.);
    1996 - Museum of Modern Art, New York, SUA (D.A.).

    Monumental Works:
    1902 – Georgescu Bust - Gorjan;
    1908 – The Kiss (Stone), Montparnasse Graveyard, Paris, France (D.A.);
    1912 - General Dr. Carol Davila (bust, bronzw), Central Military Hospital, Bucharest (D.A.);
    1914 - Petre Stanescu's tomb – bust of P.S. and  The Prayer (bronze), Buzău (D.A.);
    1937 - 1938 - Table of Silence Triptych, Gate of the Kiss and the Never ending Column (stone, metal), Târgu Jiu, Gorj;
    1988 – The Big Cock (Stainless steel, 477 cm), Foundation Garden Pierre Gianadda, Martigny Sion, Switzerland (D.A.);
    During the studies he performes – the bust Gheorghe Chițu;
                                                  - Expression head;
                                                  -
    A series of copies - Ecorseul (along with Dr. Gerota), Vitellius, The head of Laocoon.
     


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