Monday, 13 June 2016

Abstract or Realistic? - Constantin Brancusi

This post was published on LinkedIn, but as not all of my readers are on there, I decided to publish in here too.

Who is Constantin Brancusi?!
Well, if you like modern art, abstract art and sculpture, you have certainly heard of him.
Brancusi is one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century, called the patriarch of modern sculpture (Expressionism). He was also a painter and photographer.

----------- I am not fond of modern or abstract art (Picasso's, Kandinsky's - or even Klimt's or Munch's - style), but I am an objective person and I can see there is beauty in this type of art... my eyes are not able to recognise it, though. I am an“Impressionism” person.
Enough about me and my ideas of art. ------------

“The people who call my work 'abstract' are imbeciles; what they call 'abstract' is the most realistic, because what is real is not represented by external form but by the idea behind it, the essence of things” - Constantin Brancusi

Brâncuși (Romanian spelling) was born in Romania in February 19, 1876 in a very poor family. He's taught himself to read and write and at the age of 18 entered the School of Arts and Crafts in Craiova, graduated in 1898. He then studied sculpture at the Bucharest Art School until 1902.

In 1903 he travelled to Munich, then to Paris, where in 1904 enrolled at the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Spent grand part of his life in France. In 1952, he's changed his Romanian citizenship with the French one for bureaucratic reasons.
Died in Paris in March 16, 1957 (age 81).

--- Why didn't you know he was Romanian?
That's an easy question.
--- How many Romanian illustrious personalities you know of?

That's is your answer or... NO comment. To avoid polemics on discrimination. See this post.

Here are some of Brâncuși's work made in Romania which I like very much.
It's a collection of three pieces, placed in Targu Jiu (city in Oltenia – old region of Romania – near the place he was born).
This outstanding ensemble is an homage to the hero soldiers fallen during the First World War.

The Table of Silence = Masa Tacerii (+ 12 chairs like hourglasses) - made in limestone - panel diameter 2,15 meters, thick 0,43 m and the leg is 2 m in diameter and 0,45 m thick



The Endless Column or The Column of Gratitude = Coloana fara Sfarsit ori Coloana Infinitului - made out of 17 and half rhomboidal cast iron modules - 29,33 m high



The Gate of the Kiss = Poarta sarutului - made of Banpotoc travertine (marble) - 5,13 m high, 5,45 m long and the pillars have 1,69 m width


Images from The Scented Leaf.

A version of the sculpture "The Kiss" was sold in an auction in New York in 2014, for USD 8.5 million, well above the asking price of USD 5 million. That was quite a record.

In 2012, the Christie's auction house sold Brancusi’s "Une Muse" for USD 12.4 million.


Trivia from Wikipedia. --- Non sure if I should laugh... but I found it funny. Silly me.

"In 1926-27, Bird in Space (image bellow) was the subject of a court battle over its taxation by U.S. Customs. In October 1926, Bird in Space, along with 19 other Brâncuși sculptures, arrived in New York harbour aboard the steamship Paris. While works of art are not subject to custom duties, the customs officials refused to believe that the tall, thin piece of polished bronze was art and so imposed the tariff for manufactured metal objects, 40% of the sale price or about $230 (over $2800 in 2010 U.S. dollars).
 

Image from Dailyicon.

Brâncuși was indignant; the sculptures were set to appear at the Brummer Gallery in New York City and then the Arts Club in Chicago.


Under pressure from the press and artists, U.S. customs agreed to rethink their classification of the items, releasing the sculptures on bond (under "Kitchen Utensils and Hospital Supplies") until a decision could be reached.
However, customs appraiser F. J. H. Kracke eventually confirmed the initial classification of items and said that they were subject to duty.
Kracke told the New York Evening Post that "several men, high in the art world were asked to express their opinions for the Government.... One of them told us, 'If that's art, hereafter I'm a bricklayer.' Another said, 'Dots and dashes are as artistic as Brâncuși's work.' In general, it was their opinion that Brâncuși left too much to the imagination."

Brâncuși'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 Brâncuși sculptures in the United States.


Bellow is an old bancnote of Romanian with Brancusi on it. Nowadays, this bancnote has changed and has Aurel Vlaicu on it (50 Lei or it's 5 Lei. Can't remember!). I will write about him in a different post.



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