The Pompidou Center is one of the most flamboyant buildings in Paris, so it is easy to overlook the much more discreet building next door that is Atelier Brancusi.
When the Romanian sculptor, Constantin Brancusi, died in 1957, he left his studio and its contents to the French state, which was later relocated and rebuilt by architect Renzo Piano.
Photo: Centre Pompidou
Atelier Brancusi today houses a unique collection of 137 sculptures, 87 pedestals,
41 drawings, 2 paintings and more than 1,600 photographic glass plates and original photos by the artist.
The museum provides a rare insight into the life of a unique artist and the place where he created and designed his life's work.
A living piece of history and definitely worth a visit.
Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) was one of the first avant-garde artists of the 20th century and a true pioneer in the modernist movement. In 1904 he settled in Paris, where the art scene was bubbling with new ideas.
Brancusi was part of a group of artists and intellectuals that included peers like Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Guillaume Apollinaire, Henri Rousseau and Fernand Leger. For a short period of time, Constantin Brancusi worked in a traditional, naturalistic language, but already in 1907 he exhibited sculptures with highly simplified forms. He sought to reproduce the essential, the absolute, so the shapes of the sculptures became symbols that expressed the most characteristic of a human head, a newborn child, a kiss, a seal or a bird.
He worked on these themes individually over extended periods, often in different materials such as wood, marble and polished bronze. For each figure he created an individual pedestal, that was closely related to the sculpture.
Photo: Leslie Williamson
Photo: Heather Clawson
Constantin Brancusi created most of his works in his studios, located in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. Brancusi paid close attention to the layout of his sculptures and their spatial relationships.
In his later years, he regarded his studio as a work of art in its own right. When placing sculptures in his studio, he would carefully consider the relationship between the works and the space they occupied.
He often refused to sell his works in his final years in order not to disturb the unity and harmony he had achieved in his studio. In the silent whitewashed rooms, elegant lines, shapes and shadows play together like Chinese calligraphy. Nothing more, nothing less.
Photo: TIG archives
Photo: Centre Pompidou
In 1956, Brancusi bequeathed his studio with content to the state, provided it would be reconstructed exactly as the artist left it. The layout of today’s Atelier Brancusi has been recreated down to the last detail - from its exact size, volume and light. Here you can see his work exactly as he wanted it to be seen, and understand his art as he wanted it to be understood.