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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Bucharest

Constantin Brâncusi (Romanian, 1876-1957). Sleeping Muse (1910)

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Bronze sculpture, 17.1 x 24.1 x 15.2 cm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Alfred Stieglitz Collection)
Upon arriving in Paris from Romania in 1904, Constantin Brâncusi quickly rejected the prevailing theatricality and narrative detail of master sculptor Auguste Rodin. Instead of modeling in clay, and inspired by non-Western art, he began to carve directly into stone, the material chosen for his first version of Sleeping Muse. Further reducing and abbreviating form, Brâncusi revised some works by casting them in metal with a fine finish. Such sculptures as this version of Sleeping Muse are self-sufficient, archetypal modern forms.
Here, the languor of the ovoid shape responding to gravity suggests the heaviness of sleep. The sleeping head, one of Brancusi’s first thematic cycles, occupied the artist for almost twenty years. This bronze is one of four cast in 1910 from a marble of the previous year for which Baroness Renée Irana Franchon was the model.
For a representative selection of Brâncusi’s work, see this MWW Special Collection:
* MWW Sculpture Garden
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