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One of the World’s Largest Brâncuși Exhibitions Opens this September in Timișoara, Romania

by Ron Bernthal

Mar 28, 2023

© Marcel Neag

Romania

Works of art signed by Constantin Brâncuşi, often called Romania’s best-known artist, takes place Sept. 30–Jan. 28, 2024 at National Art Museum Timișoara under exceptional security conditions. The art pieces will be transported to this Romanian city under guard, and the costs associated with the exhibition are expected to exceed $2.1 million. Out of that sum, approximately half will go toward the museum, which will host the event, while the other half will cover the exhibition itself. Timisoara was selected as a 2023 European Capital of Culture, and the exhibition will be one of the city’s major cultural events during the year.

Brâncuși (1876–1957) was born in Romania and became a noted sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Considered one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century and a pioneer of modernism, Brâncuși is called the patriarch of modern sculpture.

Timisoara

© Simion Guirca

“Unfortunately, many Brâncuşi sculptures went unseen because when he was not satisfied with a certain work, he would destroy it and throw it in the trash,” said Doina Lemny, curator, Brâncuși exhibition. “Brâncuși did not keep unfinished art in his workshop, but everything he kept he did so because he was convinced that it was a work that represented him. There are around 230-240 sculptures in the catalog.” Some of Brâncuși’s rarest sculptures, those in plaster, bronze, or marble, are now in the collections of Philadelphia Museum of Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum.

Around 20–25 rare Brâncuşi sculptures will be brought to Timișoara from England, Switzerland, France and other Romanian cities for the exhibition. Exceptional sculpture loans will arrive from National Museum of Modern Art/Centre Pompidou Paris; Tate Modern in London; Guggenheim Foundation Venice; National Museum of Modern Art in Bucharest; National Art Museum in Craiova, Romania; as well as from private collections.

Teams of specialists will transport and handle the fragile sculptures. In order to be able to organize the exhibition, local officials began updating its air conditioning and automatic temperature management system and additional security at National Art Museum Timisoara as early as late 2021.

Works of art signed by Constantin Brâncuşi, such as Ecrose, Capete de copii (Heads of children); Prometheus; Muza adormită (Sleeping Muse); Mademoiselle Pogany; Piatră de hotar (Borne-frontière); and works from the Sărutul (Kiss) series, Rugăciune (Prayer), Măiastra, Pasăre în văzduh (Bird in Space), and Coloana fără sfârşit III (Endless Column III); as well as various drawings, gouaches and photographs taken by Brâncuşi, will be on display.

Timisoara

© Adrian Bodas

Nicknamed Little Vienna or the City of Flowers, Timișoara is known for its many historical monuments and 36 parks and green spaces. The city has the highest number of historic buildings in Romania (around 14,500) and, in 1884, Timișoara became the first European mainland city (and second in the world after New York City) to electrify lighting on its public streets.

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