Lot 316
  • 316

Constantin Brancusi

300,000 - 500,000 GBP
668,450 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Constantin Brancusi
  • inscribed Brancusi and Paris, and dated 1908
  • bronze
  • length: 15.2cm., 6in.


Edward William Titus, New York (either acquired from the Brummer Gallery, New York or from the artist's studio)
Helena Rubinstein, New York (wife of the above; a gift from the above)
Sir John Richardson, New York (acquired from the above circa 1962-63)
Galerie Arnoldi-Livie, Munich (acquired from the above in 1977)
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1978


M. M., 'Constantin Brancusi: A Summary of Many Conversations', in The Arts, July 1923, illustration of the plaster p. 55
Carola Giedion-Welcker, Constantin Brancusi, New York, 1959, illustration of the plaster pl. 15
Sidney Geist, 'Brancusi Catalogued', in Arts Magazine, January 1964, p. 69
Athena Tacha Spear, ‘A Contribution to Brancusi Chronology’, in The Art Bulletin, vol.  XLVIII, no. 1, March 1966, no. 36, edition catalogued p. 53
Sidney Geist, Brancusi: A Study of the Sculpture, New York, 1968, no. 47, illustration of another cast p. 31
William Tucker, Early Modern Sculpture. Rodin, Degas, Matisse, Brancusi, Picasso, Gonzales, New York, 1974, illustration of another cast p. 112
Sidney Geist, Brancusi. The Sculpture and Drawings, New York, 1975, no. 38e, illustration of another cast p. 46
Brancusi photographe (exhibition catalogue), Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1977, no. 59, illustration of the plaster
Sidney Geist, Brancusi: A Study of the Sculpture, New York, 1983, no. 38, illustration of another cast
Pontus Hulten, Natalia Dumitresco & Alexandre Istrati, Brancusi, Paris, 1986, no. 36, illustration of the plaster p. 279
Friedrich Teja Bach, Constantin Brancusi, Metamorphosen Plasticher Form, Cologne, 1987 & 2004, no. 53, illustration of another cast p. 414; no. 53a, the present work catalogued p. 414

Catalogue Note

L’Enfant endormi is the first in a series of explorations on the theme of the sleeping child’s head, which Brancusi started in 1906 or 1907. The model for this work was the artist’s godchild Alice Poiana, born in Paris in 1906. This tender and charming image of a little girl sleeping eventually led to more abstract, now celebrated marble and bronze sculptures representing heads of a sleeping child or sleeping muse.

Writing about this work, Margit Rowell commented: ‘The treatment of the face and hair shows Brancusi’s direct and vigorous modeling. The flattened surface of the right cheek and cutaway right lower jaw allow the piece to be placed either horizontally or slightly inclined, resting on the cutout portion. Brancusi photographed it in both positions in his studio’ (M. Rowell in Constantin Brancusi (exhibition catalogue), Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris & Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1995, p. 82).

Sidney Geist, who inspected the present cast in 1977, commented in a letter: ‘Perhaps we have overlooked the importance of Sleeping Child – it is, after all, such a small, pretty, fragmentary thing… At one level we may imagine that he is demonstrating that he can be as rough with an image as Rodin. But we may be sure that despite all his mutilations, this hastily modelled head creates a fragile vision of infancy at its most defenceless’.

The original painted plaster model of this work is in the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris and another bronze cast is in The Detroit Institute of Arts.