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[Self-Portrait in Studio]

Constantin Brancusi (French (born Romania), Hobita 1876–1957 Paris)

Gelatin silver print
29.8 x 23.3 cm (11 3/4 x 9 3/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • Description

    The Rumanian artist Constantin Brancusi took up the camera as early as 1905 to interpret and present his sculptures as he alone saw them. His technique was not entirely professional, but his photographs are highly imaginative and are now recognized as characteristic examples of his visionary genius. The bizarre, spectral effect of this studio view is created by harsh light emanating from a floor fixture hidden in the foreground and from a gas jet seen in the upper right, peeking out from behind two of Brancusi's completed works, Eve (oak, 1921) and Golden Bird (bronze, stone, 1919-22). Surrounded by pedestals and works in progress, Brancusi brandishes a heavy stone hammer and emerges from the darkness-a reborn Prometheus eager to challenge modern gods.
    Because the exact authorship of the photograph remains uncertain, the wall label also cites Man Ray as a possible picturemaker. Brancusi's American friend taught the sculptor rudimentary photography and helped build his studio darkroom.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscription by artist in blue ink, print recto, BL: "[illegible post script]"; Inscribed, signed and dated by artist in blue ink, print recto, BR: "[illegible] // Constantin Brancusi // [illegible] 7 [4?] - VI [underlined] 1923"

  • Provenance

    [Gérard Lévy]; [Oltremare S.A.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, January 6, 1989

  • See also