The master of sculpture
December 9, 2013

His name is equated with genius in sculpture almost everywhere in the world. He has been called “The Father of Modern Sculpture” and his works can fetch tens of millions of dollars at auction. He was born near Târgu Jiu in 1876. He studied in Bucharest initially and later in Munich and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Brâncuși worked in France and was an important part of the art scene in the early part of the 20th Century. He worked briefly in Rodin’s studio, before developing his own hugely influential abstract style. He did not gain favor with the communist regime in Romania, which criticized his works for being “bourgeois”. After gaining French citizenship, Brâncuși lived out his later years as something of an exile in France. He died in 1957 and was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery, where some of his friends’ graves were already adorned with his sculptures. Romanian authorities have been trying to repatriate his remains, with proceedings still ongoing. Brâncuși is now considered one of the most important sculptors of the last century.

His works are spread throughout the world, but the famous trio, made of the Endless Column, the Table of Silence, and the Gate of the Kiss, are to be found in the main park in Târgu Jiu and which are considered to be some of the greatest works of 20th century outdoor sculpture. The monument was commissioned by the National League of Gorj Women to honor those soldiers who had defended Târgu Jiu in 1916. Brâncuși was at the time living in Paris, but accepted the work in 1935, however refused to receive payment for it. The Endless Column stacks 17 rhomboidal modules, with a half-unit at the top, which symbolises the concept of the infinite. It was not Brâncuși’s first such work of art, an earlier version made of wood is now found in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Pundits believe Brâncuși got his inspiration for this work from the traditional grave symbols for men from his home village of Hobița.
Among his other famous works are Mmelle Pogany, Bird in Space and Sleeping Muse – the latter now found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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