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05567

BRANCUSI, Constantin

Hobitza, Romania 1876 - Paris 1957

Négresse blonde I

Blonde Negress I

1926

bronze, marble, and limestone

head

Dimensions (HxWxD): head: 15 14 x 6 78; with base: 26 x 13 78 in.

stamped on rear of ornament: BRANCUSI / PARIS_1926

Acc. No.: 1991.108

Credit Line: Partial gift of Thomas T. Solley and partial purchase with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, and with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott

Photo credit: Toledo Museum of Art


Provenance

  • Paris, Baroness Eva Gebhard Gourgaud
  • The Eva Gebhard Gourgaud Foundation
  • 1960, March 16, New York, Parke-Bernet Galleries, sale, lot 49
  • New York, Staempfli Gallery
  • Chicago, Illinois, Arnold Maremont
  • 1974, May 1, New York, Sotheby Parke Bernet, sale, lot 15
  • Thomas P. Solley
  • 1991, Partial gift of Thomas T. Solley and partial purchase with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, and with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott

Bibliography

  • Museum's website, December 11, 2012
  • 1966 Geist
    Sidney Geist, "Letters to Editor," Art Bulletin, XLVII, no. 3-4, Sept.-Dec. 1966, pp. 462-463
  • 1966 Spear
    Athena Tacha Spear, "A Contribution to Brancusi Chronolgy," Art Bulletin, XLVIII, no. 1, Mar. 1966, pp. 48-59, fig. 8
  • 1968 Geist
    Sidney Geist, Brancusi, a Study of the Sculpture, New York, 1968, no. 167A
  • 1974 Geist
    Sidney Geist, Brancusi, The Sculpture and Drawings, New York, 1974, no. 179b
  • 1974 Rush
    Richard H. Rush, Investments You Can Live with and Enjoy, Washington DC, 1974, p. 106, repr.
  • 1987 Bach
    Friedrich Teja Bach, Constantin Brancusi: Metamorphosen plastischer Form, Cologne, 1987, no. 225a, p. 484, repr.
  • 1987 Hulten, Dumitresco and Istrati
    Pontus Hulten, Natalie Dumitresco, Alexandre Istrati, Brancusi, New York, 1987, no. 160a
  • 1991-1992 Toledo
    Toledo Museum of Art, Annual Report July 1, 1991 - June 30, 1992, verso front cover, repr. front cover (col.)
  • 1992 Burlington
    "Calendar," Burlington Magazine, vol. 134, no. 1077, Dec. 1992, p. 841
  • 1995 Toledo Treasures
    Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Treasures, Toledo, 1995, p. 167, repr. (col.)
  • 1998 Stiles and Mermer-Welly
    Gloria J. Stiles and Mary Jo Mermer-Welly, "Children having children: art therapy in a community-based early adolescent pregnancy program," Art Therapy: Journal of the American Association, vol. 15, no. 3, 1998, p. 172, fig. 9
  • 2001 Berkowitz
    Roger M. Berkowitz, "Selected acquisitions made by the Toledo Museum of Art, 1900-2001," Burlington, vol. 143, no. 1177, April, 2001, p. 262, fig. XVII (col.)
  • 2001 McMaster
    Julie A. McMaster, The Enduring Legacy: A Pictorial History of the Toledo Museum of Art, Superior Printing, Warren, OH, 2001, repr. (col.) p. 45
  • 2009 Toledo Masterworks
    The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Museum of Art Masterworks, Toledo, 2009, p. 315, repr. (col.)

Exhibitions

  • 1926-1927 New York/Chicago
    Brancusi, New York, Brummer Gallery; The Arts Club of Chicago, 1926-1927

    1953 New York
    [exhib. title unknown] [could be: Sculpture of the Twentieth Century, MoMA, April 29-September 7, 1953], New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1953

    1960 New York
    Brancusi, New York, Staempfli Gallery, 1960, illus. on cover, no. 12, p. 9

    1961 Chicago
    The Maremont Collection at the Institute of Design, Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1961, no. 127, illus.

Comment

  • Museum's website, December11, 2012:
    One of the most innovative sculptors of the early twentieth century, Constantin Brancusi simplified outward appearances to express inner, universal beauty. This extremely refined image of a woman's head is said to have been inspired by a young African woman whom the artist saw at a reception in Paris. A smooth oval represents the head. Its geometric surface is interrupted by three details: an elegant topknot, an ornament at the lower back of the head, and lips. Brancusi poised the head on the top edge of a white marble cylinder, which, in turn is mounted on a cross-shaped limestone base. He carved the first version of the head, titled White Negress I, in white marble in 1924. Blond Negress I was cast in bronze in 1926. A second bronze version, Blond Negress II, was cast in 1933. In all versions, Brancusi deliberately chose materials that ignore skin color and focused on revealing the inner radiance of the subject.
    Brancusi's mature work was profoundly influenced by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato's concept of ideal form. Rather than imitating nature, the artist simplified his images to the essential, ideal forms that he believed lay beneath surface appearance. While carved wood and stone sculptures established his early reputation, it is polished bronze works, such as Blond Negress I, that are his lasting contribution to twentieth-century art. In his hands this traditional material took on a radically modern appearance. Its polished surface becomes almost transparent as the sculpture reflects life around it, while at the same time, the flawless form reveals the beauty within