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Paul Kasmin Gallery Presents: Brancusi in New York 1913 - 2013

November 7, 2013 - January 11, 2014 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street, New York.
  • <strong>Image: Constantin Brancusi, Mademoiselle Pogany II, 1925 - 2006, polished bronze, sculpture: 16 7/8 x 7 x 11 3/4 inches, overall: 27 x 10 x 8 3/4 inches, edition of 8.</strong>
    NEW YORK, NY, November 19, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- "Man who introduced three of the decisive inventions in sculpture of the twentieth century: environmental sculpture, minimalist sculpture, and serial sculpture." - Museum director and Brancusi expert Pontus Hulten

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present Brancusi in New York 1913 - 2013, an exhibition of works from the Brancusi Estate collection. The show celebrates Brancusi's 100th anniversary in New York following his debut at the Armory Show in 1913, where the sculptor exhibited five works that directed modern sculpture on a radical new path.

The Gallery presents five masterpieces by Brancusi: Head, Mademoiselle Pogany II, The Newborn, Sleeping Muse II, and Fish. The works will be presented in a contemporary context at Paul Kasmin Gallery's 515 West 27th Street location, through January 11, 2014, as a testament to Brancusi's continued relevance in today's art world. A fully illustrated catalogue, Brancusi in New York 1913 - 2013, published by Assouline, chronicles the sculptor's success in New York City and his impact on its artistic milieu. The exhibition was produced in partnership with the Brancusi Estate and is curated by Jerome Neutres, who is the catalogue's author.

Together Head, Mademoiselle Pogany II, The Newborn, Sleeping Muse II, and Fish explore dominant themes in Brancusi's oeuvre. Collectively and individually, they testify to his signature style admired by New Yorkers since 1913, and today they exemplify a sophisticated expression of perfected simplicity. With these sculptures, Brancusi shattered the paradigm of abstraction in sculpture and radicalized the idea of purity in form. Simply stated in the words of Jerome Neutres, "Brancusi changed the way art was made."

Head (circa 1920), made from polished bronze, illustrates how, in the words of Eugene Ionesco, "[Brancusi] had assimilated the entire history of sculpture, mastered it, gone beyond it, rejected it, come back to it, purified it, reinvented it. He had got it down to its essence." With Head, Brancusi's inquiry into the totemic nature of masks resulted in an interpretation that encapsulated his most complete geometric abstraction.

Mademoiselle Pogany II (1925), a polished bronze version of the plaster model that first debuted at the Armory Show in 1913. The series of Mademoiselle Pogany was his most photographed work and embodies the inexpressible nature of the feminine spirit.

Sleeping Muse II (1923), whose first version attracted the most attention in 1913, resulted in his first requests from collectors for bronze editions. It features also an abstracted face of a woman, like Mademoiselle Pogany II's serpentine figure beckons the viewer with her subdued look. Sleeping Muse II transforms the viewer into a voyeur watching over the sleeping woman with delicate suggestions of a nose, large oval-shaped closed eyes, and a half-open mouth.

"We do not see real life except by its reflection," wrote Brancusi in 1919, and with The Newborn (1920) Brancusi created his most radically abstract sculpture representing not only the act of birth but also the newborn baby. Previously Brancusi named it Beginning of the World, referencing the violence with which human life begins. But Brancusi tempers this association with the smooth lines of the sculpture, bringing serenity into the subject matter.

With Fish (1926), the artist advances his study of sculpture into a moving artwork. Fish, a polished bronze sculpture measuring 5.3 x 16.5 x 1.2 inches, here in an edition of 8, rotates on its disc allowing the sculpture to mimic the movement and spirit of its subject. Fish was born out of Brancusi's goal to capture a creature's movement, one he worked obsessively towards.

"Without the Americans, I would not have been able to produce all this or even to have existed," said Constantin Brancusi to the New York Times in 1955 when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum celebrated his work with the first museum retrospective of his work.


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