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Constantin Brancusi was born February 19, 1876, in Hobitza, Romania. He studied art at the Craiova School of Arts and Crafts from 1894 to 1898, and at the Bucharest School of Fine Arts from 1898 to 1901. Eager to further his education, Brancusi moved to Paris in 1904 and enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts in 1905. The following year, a number of his sculptures were shown at the Salon d’Automne, where he met Auguste Rodin.
After 1907, Brancusi matured significantly as an artist. He settled in Paris but travelled frequently to Bucharest where he exhibited almost every year. In Paris his friends included Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Henri Rousseau. In 1913 five of Brancusi’s sculptures were included in the Armory Show in New York. Alfred Stieglitz presented the first solo show of Brancusi’s work at his 291 Gallery in New York in 1914.
Brancusi was never a member of any organized artistic movement, although he associated with Francis Picabia, Tristan Tzara, and many other Dadaists in the early 1920s. In 1921 he was honored in a special issue of The Little Review. He traveled to the United States twice in 1926 to attend his solo shows at the Wildenstein and at the Brummer galleries in New York. The following year, a historic trial was held in the United States to determine whether Brancusi’s Bird in Space was liable for duty as a manufactured object or as a work of art. The court decided in 1928 that the sculpture was a work of art. Brancusi traveled extensively in the 1930s, visiting India and Egypt as well as Europe. He was commissioned to create a war memorial for a park in Târgu Jiu, Romania, in 1935, and designed a complex that included gates, tables, stools, and an Endless Column. After 1939, Brancusi continued to work in Paris. His last sculpture, the plaster Grand Coq, was completed in 1949. In 1952, Brancusi became a French citizen. He died March 16, 1957, in Paris.