Sunday, October 12, 2014

Constantin Brancusi's Pipe

Constantin Brancusi, born in Hobita, Romania in 1876, was a sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France.  

Photograph taken by Edward Steichen in 1922

He is considered today as the pioneer of modernism and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century. 

Edward Steichen - Brancusi's studio, 1920

In 1923, he began working on the group of sculptures that are known as "Bird in Space".

"There are idiots who define my work as abstract; yet what they call abstract is what is most realistic. What is real is not the appearance, but the idea, the essence of things." Brancusi.

Brancusi was an inveterate pipe smoker:

 "As far as tobacco is concerned, of which he used large amounts, the ration (during WWII) was barely enough. There were tobacco plants at the Flower Market but the merchant could only sell one plant per customer." Sir, look at my beard and my moustach" Brancusi said. They are yellow because I am a heavy smoker. Be kind enough to sell me five...". The merchant was finally convinced. Brancusi planted his tobacco in a large clay pot, and lovingly took care of his plants. Thanks to the natural light coming through the glass roof, they became enormous and produced enough leaves to insure an appropriate supply for his pipe and cigarettes". [ Bibliography: Pontus Hulten, Natalia Dumitresco et Alexandre Istrati, "Brancusi," Paris, 1986, n°234, p. 319]. 

His well smoked pipe, the "essence" of a pipe, was sold at auction on November 30, 2010, for 15,301€ ($19,886.94).

"PIPE", 1934, precious wood, 4 x 15,2 x 3,4 cm (1 5/8 x 6 x 1 3/8 in)

From the collection of Natalia Dumitresco and Alexandre Istrati, a gift from the artist later inherited by current owner.

Courtesy of Artcurial, Paris


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