View 1 of Lot 34. CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI  |  SLEEPING MUSE.
View 1 of Lot 34. CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI  |  SLEEPING MUSE.
34

CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI | SLEEPING MUSE

Estimate:

50,000 - 70,000 USD

CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI | SLEEPING MUSE

CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI | SLEEPING MUSE

Estimate:

50,000 - 70,000 USD

Lot sold:

100,000

USD

CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI

1876 - 1957

SLEEPING MUSE


framed, a Lunn Gallery, Washington, D. C., label on the reverse

gelatin silver print

7 by 9 ⅜ inches

(17.8 by 23.8 cm)

Executed circa 1912.

Harry Lund

Acquired by the present owner from the above

'Brancusi,' This Quarter, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 1925, illustrated

Carola Giedion-Welcker, Modern Plastic Art: Elements of Reality, Volume and Disintegration, Zürich, 1937, p. 98, illustrated

Carola Giedion-Welcker,

Contemporary Sculpture: An Evolution in Volume and Space, New York, 1955, p. 113, illustrated

Christian Zervos, Brancusi: Sculptures, Peintures, Fresques, Dessins, Paris, 1957, p. 27, illustrated

Carola Giedion-Welcker, Constantin Brancusi, New York, 1959, pl. 11, illustrated

Friedrich Teja Bach, Brancusi: Photo Reflection, Paris, 1991, p. 71, pl. 31, illustrated

Brancusi als Fotograf, Bern, 1996, p. 30, pl. 10, illustrated

With the assistance of Man Ray, Constantin Brancusi obtained darkroom equipment and began prolifically documenting his sculpture through photography as early as 1905. The present photograph of Brancusi’s intimate masterpiece Sleeping Muse I (1909-1910, now in the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden) was taken at eye level and emphasizes the smooth elegance of the marble sculpture contrasted with concrete, the most quotidian of materials. 


Brancusi was given a one-man exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery in 1914, one year after being included in both the Salon des Indépendants and the Armory Show in New York. Previously known as the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, 291 was established to promote the status of fine art photography alongside painting and sculpture. From 1909 until its closure in 1917, however, it hosted only six photography shows out of a total of 61 exhibitions. Unlike the Little Galleries before it, 291 became a venue for exhibitions of non-photographic avant-garde art created by artists such as Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin (see Lot 43), Francis Picabia, and Pablo Picasso. To better reflect the programming in the gallery, Stieglitz abandoned his previous policy of only reproducing photographic artworks in his quarterly journal 'Camera Work'; and after 1910 he also incorporated images of painting, sculpture, and printmaking. The October 1916 issue of 'Camera Work' (No. 48) featured one of Stieglitz’s own photographs of Brancusi’s exhibition at 291. In that installation view, Sleeping Muse I can be seen on a pedestal in the foreground.