Constantin Brancusi is a venerated patriarch of modern sculpture. His work evolved from a pursuit of modeled realism toward formal abstraction – concentrating in his sculptures what he conceived to be the essence of form in space. Brancusi pursued the creation of his own photographic endeavors with the same rigor and quest for purity as he did with his sculpture and insisted that only his images of his sculptures were circulated in order to give voice to each sculpture’s unique personality and convey its literal and allegorical relationship to his other works in his studio. His photographs, always printed by him, translated his three-dimensional sculptures into a new two-dimensional art form. Brancusi created complex compositions that often incorporate radical lighting; his photographs express a unique pictorial vision that moves decisively beyond mere documentation and firmly established Brancusi as one of the most remarkably innovative image-makers in the history of the medium.
Brancusi was born in 1876 in Hobitza, Romania. He attended the School of Arts and Crafts in Craiova and the Bucharest School of Fine Arts. Eager to continue his education in Paris, Brancusi arrived there in 1904 and enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1906 he started working as Auguste Rodin’s assistant and frequented other notorious artists of the period such as Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Alfred Steichen. After his introduction to Man Ray in 1921, Brancusi’s photographic work becomes most prolific and noticeably aesthetically advanced. He died in 1957, and was buried at the Cimetière du Montparnasse surrounded by sculptures he made for other deceased artists. He left behind 1200 photographs and 215 sculptures to the Museum of Art of the City of Paris. His work has been shown in two different exhibitions respectively in 2002 and 2012 at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery.
Brancusi’s photographs have been the focus of several exhibitions, including The Original Copy, Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today, held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Constantin Brancusi & Richard Serra: Resting in Time and Space, shown at the Foundation Beyeler; and Brancusi, Film and Photography, the monumental exhibition of Brancusi’s photographs exhibited at the Centre Pompidou.
Brancusi's works are housed in the National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and other museums around the world. The Philadelphia Museum of Art holds the largest collection of Brancusi sculptures in the United States.