Constantin Brâncuși

Romanian sculptor, photographer and painter (1876-1960)

Constantin Brâncuși (February 19, 1876March 16, 1957) was a Romanian-born sculptor, painter, and photographer who made his career in France. His art emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art.

Work like a slave; command like a king; create like a god.
- Brâncuși,


  • There are idiots who define my work as abstract; yet what they call abstract is what is most realistic. What is real is not the appearance, but the idea, the essence of things.
    • Original in French:
      Il y a des imbéciles qui définissent mon œuvre comme abstraite, pourtant ce qu'ils qualifient d'abstrait est ce qu'il y a de plus réaliste, ce qui est réel n'est pas l'apparence mais l'idée, l'essence des choses.
    • Sculptura pe Internet. Caiete Silvane magazine. Retrieved on 2008-11-01.
  • I ground matter to find the continuous line. And when I realized I could not find it, I stopped, as if an unseen someone had slapped my hands.
    • Original in Romanian:
      Am șlefuit materia pentru a afla linia continuă. Și când am constatat că n‑o pot afla, m‑am oprit; parcă cineva nevăzut mi‑a dat peste mâini.
    • Vavila Popovici. Jurnal American - 21 Septembrie, altă zi la New York. Centrul Cultural Pitești. Retrieved on 2008-11-01.</ref>
  • Work like a slave; command like a king; create like a god.
  • All my life l have sought the essence of flight. Flight — what bliss.
    • Brâncuși cited in: Des Moines Art Center, ‎Terry Ann R. Neff (1998) An Uncommon Vision. p. 66
  • When we are no longer young we are already dead
    • Attributed to Brâncuși in: Rene Dubot So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events. 1998, p. 112
  • Don't look for mysteries. I give you pure joy.
    • Brâncuși cited in: Horst Woldemar Janson, ‎Anthony F. Janson (2004) History of Art: The Western Tradition.
  • Like everything else I've ever done, there was a furious struggle to rise heavenward.
    • Brâncuși cited in: Finley Eversole (2009) Art and Spiritual Transformation. p. 329

Quotes about Brâncuși

  • Modern industrial design has advanced at a rapid pace during the last ten years. Its successes are no longer confined to objects which, like automobiles and airplanes, are themselves the product of new conditions. Modern design has also begun to conquer the traditional arts, and the feeling for abstract form, first expressed in our time in the works of Picasso, Braque, Brancusi, Duchamps-Villon in Europe, or Stieglitz, Benton, and Storrs for example in the United States, has finally entered architecture and the decorative arts.
  • Since the Gothic, European sculpture had become overgrown with moss, weeds – all sorts of surface excrescences which completely concealed shape. It has been Brancusi's special mission to get rid of this overgrowth, and make us once more shape-conscious. To do this he has had to concentrate on very simple direct shapes, to keep his sculpture, as it were, one-cylindered, to refine and polish a single shape to a degree almost too precious.. may now be no longer necessary to close down and restrict sculpture to the single (static) form unit. We can now begin to open out. To relate and combine together several forms of varied sizes, sections, and directions into one organic whole.
    • Henry Moore The sculptor speaks (1937), as quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock -, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 250 (translation Daphne Woodward)
  • [Brancusi] has had more influence on my work than most architects.
    • Frank Gehry in: Caroline Evensen Lazo (2005) Frank Gehry. p. 43
  • My conscious tradition is through Constantin Brâncuși, and Brâncuși just strikes me as an infinitely wiser and infinitely more talented, an infinitely stronger figure than [Marcel Duchamp|Duchamp]]. I think I could have done my work if Duchamp had not lived. I could not have done my work if Brâncuși had not lived.
    • Carl Andre, as quoted in 'Artists talks 1969 – 1977', ed. Peggy Gale, The Press N.S.C.A.D, Nova Scotia, Canada 2004, pp. 15-16
  • All I'm doing is putting Brâncuși's 'Endless Column' on the ground, instead of in the sky. Most sculpture is priapic with the male organ in the air. In my work, w:Priapus is down on the floor. The engaged position is to run along the earth.
    • Quote of Carl Andre, in Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology by Gregory Battcock, University of California Press, 1995, p. 104
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