Saturday, February 19, 2011

Constantin Brancusi portrait of Mile Pogany

Constantin Brancusi February 19, 1876 – March 16, 1957 was a Romanian-born sculptor, portrait of Mile Pogany — so simple, so severe in its beauty.

Of this head and two other pieces of sculpture exhibited by Brancusi in July, 1913, at the Allied Artists' Exhibition in London, Roger Fry said in "The Nation," August 2:

Constantin Brancusi's sculptures have not, I think, been seen before in England. His three heads are the most remarkable works of sculpture at the Albert Hall. Two are in brass and one in stone. They show a technical skill which is almost disquieting, a skill which might lead him, in default of any overpowering imaginative purpose, to become a brilliant pasticheur. But it seemed to me there was evidence of passionate conviction; that the simplification of forms was no mere exercise in plastic design, but a real interpretation of the rhythm of life. These abstract vivid forms into which he compresses his heads give a vivid presentment of character; they are not empty abstractions, but filled with a content which has been clearly, and passionately apprehended.
Futurist sculpture, like Futurist painting, starts with a fundamental departure.

All sculpture, classic as well as Impressionistic and PostImpressionistic, deals with an object or a group of objects. It models and reproduces them detached from their environment.

Constantin Brancusi portrait of Mile PoganyTitle: Cubists and post-impressionism. Author: Arthur Jerome Eddy. Publisher: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1914. Original from: Harvard University. Digitized: Jul 10, 2007. Length: 253 pages. Subjects: Art / History / General, Art / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945), Cubism, Impressionism (Art), Post-impressionism (Art).

This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF. Works published before 1923, in this case 1914, are now in the public domain.

Futurist sculpture seeks to reproduce a figure or an object attached to and a pr.rt of its fleeting and flowing surroundings, its atmosphere, its medium.

It goes further; it seeks to convey not only the impression of the truth that a figure is a part of its environment, but that its atmosphere and environment flows through the figure and the figure through the environment, that nothing is segregated but everything fusing.

The philosophical thought is old, as old as the earliest Greek philosophy, but the attempt to express the thought in stone, wood, bronze, is new.

We may feel sure the attempt is futile, that it cannot succeed, but our scepticism is no reason why a sculptor in his enthusiasm should not make the attempt.

It is when we come to the work of Brancusi and Archipanko that we find the most startling examples of the reaction along purely creative lines.

Nature is purposely left far behind, as far behind as in Cubist pictures, and for very much the same reasons.

Of Brancusi something has been said already.

Of all the sculpture in the International Exhibition the two pieces that excited the most ridicule were Brancusi's egg-shaped portrait of Mile. Pogany and "Family Life" by Archipanko.

Both are creative works, products of the imagination, but in their inspiration they are fundamentally different.

In his symmetrical oval head with the spiral masses where the neck would be, it is apparent the sculptor's interest is in the play of line and relation of masses, no profound human problem troubled him. That there is a relation between the strange shape of the head and his theories of life and art no serious observer of his other work could doubt, but his unusual technic over-shadows other interest.

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