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White Negress II

A work made of white marble, black marble, stone, and wood.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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  • A work made of white marble, black marble, stone, and wood.

Date:

1928

Artist:

Constantin Brancusi
French, born Romania, 1876–1957

About this artwork

Among sculptors of his generation in Europe, Constantin Brancusi was arguably the most influenced by African art in his choices of materials and forms, but it was not until the middle of his career, in the 1920s and 1930s, that he chose to represent his impression of an African subject in two related series: White Negress and Blond Negress. According to the artist, the impetus for these works was a visit to the 1922 Colonial Exposition—an expansive exhibition demonstrating France’s dominance as a colonial power held in Marseille—where he observed a woman he understood to be of African descent. The anonymous subject, rendered as an elongated volume with just two features, lips and hair, reflected European stereotypes about African physiognomy, and presented the paradox of seeing a black body represented in light-colored materials. White in the title refers to the color of the marble, which at once relates to the tradition of marble statuary but also to an ongoing 20th-century fetishism of black bodies. In the blond versions, this same form appears in highly polished, mirror-like bronze.

On View

Modern Art, Gallery 395

Artist

Constantin Brancusi

Title

White Negress II

Origin

France

Date

1928

Medium

White marble, black marble, stone, and wood

Inscriptions

Signed: "C. Brancusi 1928"

Dimensions

sculpture: 49.5 × 14.5 × 19. cm (19 1/2 × 5 3/4 × 7 1/2 in.); black marble base: 36.9 × 36.9 × 25.4 cm (14 1/2 × 14 1/2 × 10 in.); stone base: 53.3 × 50.8 × 42 cm (21 × 20 × 16 1/2 in.); wood base: 45.1 × 43.2 × 35 cm (17 3/4 × 17 × 13 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Grant J. Pick Collection

Reference Number

1966.4

Copyright

© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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