Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

[Brancusi's Studio]

Artist:
Edward J. Steichen (American (born Luxembourg), Bivange 1879–1973 West Redding, Connecticut)
Date:
ca. 1920
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
24.4 x 19.4 cm (9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gift of Grace M. Mayer, 1992
Accession Number:
1992.5149
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
Steichen lived in Paris on and off from 1900 to 1924, making paintings and photographs. A cofounder with Alfred Stieglitz of the Photo-Secession, Steichen offered his former New York studio to the fledgling organization as an exhibition space in 1905. Known first as the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession and later simply by its address on Fifth Avenue, 291, the gallery introduced modern French art to America through the works of Rodin, Matisse, Cézanne, and, in 1914, Constantin Brancusi.


Steichen and Brancusi, who met at Rodin's studio, became lifelong friends. This view of a corner of Brancusi's studio on the impasse Roncin shows several identifiable works, including "Cup" (1917) and "Endless Column" (1918). The photograph's centerpiece is the elegant polished bronze "Golden Bird" (1919), which soars above the other forms. Distinct from Brancusi's studio photographs—subjective meditations on his own creations—Steichen's view is more orchestrated, geometric, and objective. "Golden Bird" is centered, the light modulated, and the constellation of masses carefully balanced in the space defined by the camera. A respectful acknowledgment of the essential abstraction of the sculpture, the photograph seems decidedly modern and presages the formal studio photographs Steichen made in the service of "Vanity Fair" and "Vogue" beginning in 1923.

Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso, upper left: "Brancusi-studio"; lower left: "70.344"
Grace M. Mayer, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 29," May 21, 2001–September 23, 2001.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Charles Sheeler's Contemporaries," June 3, 2003–August 17, 2003.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand," November 8, 2010–April 10, 2011.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jeff L. Rosenheim. "Paris as Muse: Photography, 1840s – 1930s," January 27, 2014–May 4, 2014.

Compare "Brancusi in his Studio. Paris. 1927," pl. 177 in Edward Steichen, A Life in Photography, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963.
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