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  • Provenance

    Cahiers D’art, Paris

  • Literature

    Bach, Constantin Brancusi: Metamorphosen plastischer Form, pp. 27 and 462
    Bach, Rowell and Temkin, Constantin Brancusi, p. 183
    Centre Georges Pompidou, La Colonne Sans Fin: Les carnets de l’Atelier Brancusi, p. 60
    Di Milia, Brancusi, p. 40
    Zervos, Constantin Brancusi: Sculptures, Peintures, Fresques, Dessins, p. 59

  • Catalogue Essay

    The original 7 x 5 in. (18 x 13 cm) glass plate negative is in the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.


    Romanian-born Constantin Brancusi crafted one of the most influential legacies among 20th -century sculptors. In 1904 the aspiring artist moved to Paris and worked briefly at the atelier of the acclaimed sculptor Auguste Rodin. However, wishing to leave his own mark and noting that “Nothing grows in the shade of large trees,” Brancusi eventually moved to a studio in the cité d’artistes in Montparnasse, where he spent the rest of his life. Visitors to Brancusi’s studio, according to historian Albrecht Barthel, described it “… as a sacred forest, an enchanted or mythical place where every object, even the tools, seemed to ‘vibrate with a supernatural presence.’”

    It was through photography that Brancusi sought to capture the spirit of his studio and to document his individual sculptures. In View of the Studio, The Sorceress, The Kiss and The Chief, 1925 (lot 81), viewers see three works inhabiting the studio: The Kiss (possibly Brancusi’s personal copy that was exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show) stands on a double pedestal towards the lower left; rising diagonally on a taller pedestal is The Sorceress; while smiling in back is The Chief.

    Roberta Smith, in a review of Brancusi’s photographs, wrote that they “…clarify how he saw his work and wanted it seen, and show something of his working process. But their distinctive emotional tenor, orchestrations of form and explorations of the photographic medium qualify them as art in their own right.” In accordance with the dominant art form at the time, Brancusi’s compacted studio photographs appear Cubist, an effect caused by the camera’s flattening of space and the reduction of tone into the tonality of a gelatin silver print. But the emotional tenure of these poetic images stems from their creator’s eye, whom as an artist and curator spent a lifetime re-arranging his menagerie of creations in the “sacred forest” of his studio. By the mid-1940s, Brancusi had arranged his sculptures in their final position. Following his passing in 1957, at his bequest to the state, Brancusi’s studio with its full contents was eventually rebuilt at the piazza of the Centre Pompidou in 1997.

    The photograph Endless Column in Steichen’s Garden at Voulangis circa 1923 depicts one of Brancusi’s most iconic sculptures once he had it installed in the Voulangis garden of fellow photographer Edward Steichen. Incidentally, it was outside Rodin’s house in Paris a decade prior that Steichen met Brancusi for the first time. Enchanted by Brancusi’s sculptures, Steichen encouraged Alfred Stieglitz to give Brancusi his first American exhibition in 1914 at ‘291’, the hub for Modernism in America at the time. As evidenced by this image, the bond between Steichen and Brancusi lasted well beyond the exhibition. Indeed, Steichen became a lifelong supporter of Brancusi’s and purchased many of his sculptures. Endless Column in Steichen’s Garden at Voulangis is a testament of the friendship between the two visionaries. Moreover, while this particular rendition of the sculpture is no longer in existence, Brancusi captured its essence for posterity, cropping the column to accentuate its seemingly endless nature.

71

Endless Column in Steichen’s Garden at Voulangis

circa 1923
Gelatin silver print.
15 1/2 x 11 5/8 in. (39.4 x 29.5 cm)

Estimate
$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $100,000

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
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Shlomi Rabi
Head of Sale, New York
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Photographs

New York Auction 1 April 10am & 2pm