Bird in Space

Bird in Space (L'Oiseau dans l'espace) is a series of sculptures by Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. The original work was created in 1928. It was sold in 2005 for $27.5 million, at the time a record price for a sculpture sold in an auction.[1][2] The original title in Romanian is Pasărea în văzduh.


In the Bird in Space works, Brâncuși concentrated not on the physical attributes of the bird, but instead on its movement. The bird's wings and feathers are eliminated, the swell of the body is elongated, and the head and beak are reduced to a slanted oval plane.[3]

External video
Smarthistory - Brancusi's Bird in Space[4]

Seven of the sculptures in the series are made of marble, while the other nine were cast in bronze. The first and best known of the series is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, while two bronze casts (1928 and c.1941) reside in that city's Museum of Modern Art. Two versions of the sculpture, one bronze (1924) and one marble (1923–1924), are housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is home to a marble and a bronze from 1925 and 1927, respectively. A 1926 bronze is held by the Seattle Art Museum but is currently not on display. Two more bronze casts (1925–1926 and 1927) are on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and a 1931 bronze cast is housed at the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena, California. Another bronze of unknown casting date resides in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra owns two marbles, both c.1931-1936, one white and one black.

Legal controversy

In 1926–27, Bird in Space was the subject of a court battle over its taxation by U.S. Customs. In October 1926, Bird in Space, along with 19 other Brâncuși sculptures, arrived in New York harbor aboard the steamship Paris.[5] While works of art are not subject to custom duties, the customs officials refused to believe that the tall, thin piece of polished bronze was art and so imposed the tariff for manufactured metal objects, 40% of the sale price or about $230[6] (over $3130 in 2016 U.S. dollars). Marcel Duchamp (who accompanied the sculptures from Europe), American photographer Edward Steichen (who was to take possession of Bird in Space after exhibition), and Brâncuși himself were indignant; the sculptures were set to appear at the Brummer Gallery in New York City and then the Arts Club in Chicago. Under pressure from the press and artists, U.S. customs agreed to rethink their classification of the items, releasing the sculptures on bond (under "Kitchen Utensils and Hospital Supplies") until a decision could be reached. However, customs appraiser F. J. H. Kracke eventually confirmed the initial classification of items and said that they were subject to duty. Kracke told the New York Evening Post that "several men, high in the art world were asked to express their opinions for the Government.... One of them told us, 'If that's art, hereafter I'm a bricklayer.' Another said, 'Dots and dashes are as artistic as Brâncuși's work.' In general, it was their opinion that Brâncuși left too much to the imagination."[5] The next month, Steichen filed an appeal to the U.S. Customs' decision.

Under the 1922 Tariff Act, for a sculpture to count as duty-free it must be an original work of art, with no practical purpose, made by a professional sculptor.[5] No one argued that the piece had a practical purpose, but whether or not the sculpture was art was hotly contested. The 1916 case United States v. Olivotti had established that sculptures were art only if they were carved or chiseled representations of natural objects "in their true proportions." Therefore, a series of artists and art experts testified for both the defense and the prosecution about the definition of art and who decides exactly what art is.[5]

Brâncuși's affidavit to the American Consulate explained the process of creating the piece, establishing its originality:[5]

I conceived it to be created in bronze and I made a plaster model of it. This I gave to the founder, together with the formula for the bronze alloy and other necessary indications. When the roughcast was delivered to me, I had to stop up the air holes and the core hole, to correct the various defects, and to polish the bronze with files and very fine emery. All this I did myself, by hand; this artistic finishing takes a very long time and is equivalent to beginning the whole work over again. I did not allow anybody else to do any of this finishing work, as the subject of the bronze was my own special creation and nobody but myself could have carried it out to my satisfaction.

Despite the varied opinions on what qualifies as art presented to the court, in November 1928 Judges Young and Waite found in favor of the artist. The decision drafted by Waite concluded:[5]

The object now under consideration . . . is beautiful and symmetrical in outline, and while some difficulty might be encountered in associating it with a bird, it is nevertheless pleasing to look at and highly ornamental, and as we hold under the evidence that it is the original production of a professional sculptor and is in fact a piece of sculpture and a work of art according to the authorities above referred to, we sustain the protest and find that it is entitled to free entry.

This was the first court decision that accepted that non-representational sculpture could be considered art.[7]


Bird in Space was the inspiration for a classical music composition by composer Timothy A. Corpus. This work was premiered at the architectural festival Open House Chicago, in which the piece was performed throughout the festival at the Arts Club of Chicago.[8]

The American poet, Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980) refers to Brancusi's "Bird" in her poem, "Reading time: 1 minute 26 seconds" (1939) and uses this link to highlight the fear we have of embracing the new and non-utilitarian in the arts, and to encourage us to break through an unhealthy mind-set so that we may see the world anew: "... The climax when the brain acknowledges the world, / all values extended into the blood awake. / Moment of proof. And as they say Brancusi did, / building his bird to extend through soaring air, / as Kafka planned stories that draw to eternity / through time extended. And the climax strikes. ..." (from A Turning Wind, 1939. Muriel Rukeyser).

See also


  1. ^ Brâncuși's "Bird in Space" Sets World Auction Record for Sculpture at $27,456,000 Archived January 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The price record for a Brâncuși masterpiece was set up in 2005 when “Bird in Space” was sold for USD 27.5 M Archived May 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Met description of Bird in Space Archived September 25, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Brancusi's Bird in Space". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Legal Affairs".
  6. ^ "Art: Bird". 31 October 1927 – via
  7. ^ "Art Law".
  8. ^ "Chicago Architecture Foundation, Classical Composers Team Up for Open House Chicago".

External links

1923 in art

The year 1923 in art involved some significant events and new works.

1924 in art

The year 1924 in art involved some significant events and new works.

2005 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 2005 in the United Kingdom.

2009 Turner Prize

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Adrian Enescu

Adrian-Floru Enescu (31 March 1948 – 19 August 2016) was a Romanian composer of film soundtracks and contemporary music.As an individual musician, he also pioneered the local electronic scene during the 1970s and 1980s. He graduated from the "Ciprian Porumbescu" Music Conservatory in Bucharest, following the composition class of Aurel Stroe and Alexandru Pascanu in harmony.

Among his list of accomplishments are music for ballet in Italy, China and Australia, music for theater in Romania, Holland, Belgium, Japan, Australia, Canada, Columbia, and Costa Rica.

Other accomplishments:

In 1976, Basorelief (symphonic pop)

In 1980, Funky Synthesizer vol 1 (electronic music)

In 1983, vocal lead Stereo Group (pop music)

In 1984, Funky Synthesizer vol 2 (electronic music)

In 1988, Buna seara, iubite (vocal lead, Loredana Groza (pop music))

In 1989, Un buchet de trandafiri,(vocal lead, Loredana Groza) (pop music)

In 1999-2000, Jingle for "Arcadia Jingle Bank", Germany

In 2000, Millennium Angel (produced by PRO TV Romania)

In 2001, Diva (vocal lead, Loredana Groza) (pop music)

In 2001, November Dreams produced by Axel Springer Company, Germany

In 2001, EarthTone records division of Sonic Images Records USA published Invisible Music chapter 2 (electronic music)

In 2002, Buddha Bar3 published Invisible Music chapter1 (electronic music)

In 2003, he arranged the music for The Christmas Parade of Disneyland Paris, France

In 2013, Bird in Space jazz music, produced by A&ARecords

In 2014, Invisible Movies music for film, produced by A&ARecords

Symphonic music : electroacoustic music, music for solo viola, DOMINO - concerto for percussion & orchestra, TABU - concerto for vibraphone & orchestra, Labyrinth music for 8 clarinets, The Journey of Orpheus/opera - new version & variations on C. W. Gluck's themes, Cinematic for chamber orchestra

In 2014 Bach in showbiz (Bach variations) for Zoli Toth quartet

All at Once (Screaming Females album)

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Artemis and the Stag

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Candice Lin

Candice Lin (born 1979) is an American sculptor and installation artist. Candice Lin lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She is a co-founder and co-director of the artist space Monte Vista Projects.

Constantin Brâncuși

Constantin Brâncuși (Romanian: [konstanˈtin brɨŋˈkuʃʲ] (listen); February 19, 1876 – March 16, 1957) was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Considered a pioneer of modernism, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century, Brâncuși is called the patriarch of modern sculpture. As a child he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. Formal studies took him first to Bucharest, then to Munich, then to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1905 to 1907. His art emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși sought inspiration in non-European cultures as a source of primitive exoticism, as did Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, André Derain and others. However, other influences emerge from Romanian folk art traceable through Byzantine and Dionysian traditions.

Ines Janković

Ines Janković (Serbian Cyrillic: Инез Јанковић; born 1983) is a Serbian fashion designer based in Belgrade. She is known for her wedding dresses, sportswear separates, leather jackets and jewelry line. Her style has been described as classic but with a twist.

List of most expensive sculptures

This is a list of the highest known prices paid for sculptures.

Lucy Skaer

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She currently lives and works in Glasgow and London.

National Gallery of Australia

The National Gallery of Australia (originally the Australian National Gallery) is the national art museum of Australia as well as one of the largest art museums in Australia, holding more than 166,000 works of art. Located in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory, it was established in 1967 by the Australian government as a national public art museum.

Parachuting Rat

Parachuting Rat was a series of artworks in Melbourne, Australia, created by Banksy. On 26 April 2010, one was painted over by council contractors, leading to local and international coverage and debate on the nature of street art and its preservation, and new measures for its protection.

Another was accidentally destroyed in May 2012 by building work. As of 2015, there was one still remaining.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice, Italy. It is one of the most visited attractions in Venice. The collection is housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 18th-century palace, which was the home of the American heiress Peggy Guggenheim for three decades. She began displaying her private collection of modern artworks to the public seasonally in 1951. After her death in 1979, it passed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which opened the collection year-round from 1980.

The collection includes works of prominent Italian futurists and American modernists working in such genres as Cubism, Surrealism and abstract expressionism. It also includes sculptural works. In 2017, Karole Vail, a granddaughter of Peggy Guggenheim, was appointed Director of the collection, succeeding Philip Rylands, who led the museum for 37 years.


Romania ( (listen) ro-MAY-nee-ə; Romanian: România [romɨˈni.a] (listen)) is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

The River Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany's Black Forest and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km (1,775 mi), coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest, include Moldoveanu Peak, at an altitude of 2,544 m (8,346 ft).Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Following World War I, when Romania fought on the side of the Allied powers, Bukovina, Bessarabia, Transylvania as well as parts of Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș became part of the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. In June–August 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Second Vienna Award, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, and Northern Transylvania to Hungary. In November 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and, consequently, in June 1941 entered World War II on the Axis side, fighting against the Soviet Union until August 1944, when it joined the Allies and recovered Northern Transylvania. Following the war, under the occupation of the Red Army's forces, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards democracy and a market economy.

The sovereign state of Romania is a developing country and ranks 52nd in the Human Development Index. It has the world's 47th largest economy by nominal GDP and an annual economic growth rate of 7% (2017), the highest in the EU at the time. Following rapid economic growth in the early 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, and is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy, featuring companies like Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, part of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. An overwhelming majority of the population identifies themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language.


Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast.

Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, and often represents the majority of the surviving works (other than pottery) from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished almost entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, and this has been lost.Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, and until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private individuals to create, were usually an expression of religion or politics. Those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, India and China, as well as many in Central and South America and Africa.

The Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, and Greece is widely seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith. The revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's David. Modernist sculpture moved away from traditional processes and the emphasis on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, and the presentation of found objects as finished art works.

The Kiss (Brâncuși sculpture)

The Kiss (in Romanian: Sărutul /səruːtul/) is a sculpture by Romanian Modernist sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. It is an early example of his proto-cubist style of non-literal representation.

This plaster was exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show and published in the Chicago Tribune of 25 March 1913. This early plaster sculpture is one of six casts that Brancusi made of the 1907–08 The Kiss.

VersionsThe original stone carving is in the Muzeul de Arta at Craiova, Romania.Brâncuși created many versions of The Kiss, further simplifying geometric forms and sparse objects in each version, tending each time further toward abstraction. His abstract style emphasizes simple geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Here, the shape of the original block of material is maintained. Another version of The Kiss serves as an adornment of a tomb in Montparnasse cemetery in Paris, France but has since August 2017 been covered up in a box. Another version still can be seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.This version of The Kiss is one of the artist's most well known works, along with Sleeping Muse (1908), Prometheus (1911), Mademoiselle Pogany (1913), The Newborn (1915), Bird in Space (1919) and The Column of the Infinite (Coloana infinitului), known as The Endless Column (1938).

Wallace A. Ross

Wallace A. Ross (1923-1974) was the founder of The Clio Awards. He was an advertising executive in New York City from the late 1940s through the early 1970s and was responsible for improving the quality, creativity, and innovation of American television and radio advertising during the "Mad Men" era.

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