Constantin Brancusi

Constantin Brancusi (1876 – 1957)
Constantin Brancusi in his studio, around 1933/34, Photo of artist © 2011, ProLitteris, Zürich, Photo: © Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris, Distribution RMN, Paris


1876  February 19: Constantin Brancusi is born in Hobita, Romania.

1889 – 1893  He lives in Craiova, where he works as a waiter.

1894  Enrolls in the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts.

1898  Passes final examination at the Craiova school with honors, then transfers to the sculpture department of Bucharest National School of Fine Arts, from which he will receive a diploma in 1902.

1904  With the support of a grant, goes to Paris, where he works as a dishwasher and serves as an acolyte in the Romanian Church.

1905  Enrolls in the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts and attends the sculpture class.

1907  Works in the studio of Auguste Rodin, under whose influence his previous work has stood, but soon leaves to establish himself independently. Begins to carve directly in stone (taille directe) and develops a new, formally reduced approach.

1909  In this or the following year, executes his first female torso and the first Sleeping Muse.

1910  Earliest bird sculpture, Maïastra.

1913  Participates in the “Armory Show” in New York. The First Step, Brancusi’s first wood sculpture.

1914  First one-man exhibition, at the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in New York.

1916  Moves into a new studio at 8 Impasse Ronsin in Paris. Second one-man show, at the Modern Gallery, New York.

1918  Emergence of the first surviving Endless Column.

1920  Scandal caused by Princess X at the Salon des Indépendants. Described as “phallic obscenity,” the work has to be removed before the show opens; it is later reinstalled.

1921  Man Ray instructs Brancusi in photography.

1926  End of January to end of March: First sojourn in the United States. Brancusi’s third one-man show held at the Wildenstein Galleries, New York. End of September to beginning of December: Second stay in New York, and organization of Brancusi’s fourth one-man show, at Brummer Gallery.

1927  Court proceedings taken against Brancusi by the American customs service concerning the status of a Bird in Space: The artist is accused of having attempted to smuggle metal – declared as a work of art – into the U.S. A. A year later, a verdict is reached in Brancusi’s favor.

1938  Inauguration of the monumental Târgu Jiu ensemble, including Endless Column, Gate of the Kiss, and Table of Silence.

1940 – 1944  During World War II, Brancusi lives in seclusion in Paris.

1952  Brancusi is granted French citizenship.

1955  On the initiative of James Johnson Sweeney, the first Brancusi museum retrospective is held, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

1956  Brancusi writes his last will and testament, in which he leaves his studio and all its contents to the French nation.

1957  March 16: Brancusi dies in Paris and is buried at Montparnasse Cemetery.

1958  Carola Giedion-Welcker writes the first comprehensive monograph on Brancusi.

1997  Inauguration of the current Atelier Brancusi, in the new annex by Renzo Piano in front of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Artist talk with Richard Serra

22. May, 11 - 12 am, Richard Serra in conversation with the curator Oliver Wick (in Englisch).