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Brancusi

(1876-1956)

"Constantin Brancusi was a Romanian sculptor who trained initially as a carpenter and stonemason. He settled in Paris in 1904 where his early influences included African as well as oriental art. Although Rodin was another early influence, Brancusi decided he wished to make much simpler work and began an evolutionary search for pure form. While never entirely rejecting the natural world, Brancusi undoubtedly succeeds in conveying a sense of gravity by reducing his work to a few basic elements. Paradoxically, this process also tends to highlight the complexity of thought that has gone into its making. Witness the studied serenity and distilled eroticism of Sleeping Muse, for example. In contrast to his many polished works in marble and bronze are his roughly hewn works in wood. Brancusi did much to encourage a revival of carving and great respect for an artist's materials. During his later years, he polished the surface of his earlier works. Monumental, subtle and intimate, Brancusi's sculptures are rightly now considered to be the work of a modern master."

- From "The A-Z of Art: The World's Greatest and Most Popular Artists and Their Works", by Nicola Hodge and Libby Anson