When the modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi died in 1957, he left the entire contents of his studio, including most of his works, to the French state, which installed an exact replica of the space next to Paris’s Pompidou Centre in 1977. It was a move that forever limited the market for the artist’s work, exemplified in the fact that only 16 Brancusi works have been sold since 2000.

It is this immense rarity of Brancusi that makes a forthcoming auction at Artcurial in Paris on November 30 such a significant event. Six sculptures and a whole household of functional objects made by him are up for grabs in a collection that Brancusi gave to Natalia Dumitresco and Alexandre Istrati, fellow Romanian artists who were close friends and collaborators.

Most notable of the sale is the The Kiss (Column), 1935, a four-part stone and plaster sculpture that Brancusi gifted to “his children”, as he referred to Dumitresco and Istrati, in 1950. Estimated at €800,000-1,200,000, it is a piece that embodies Brancusi’s quest for simplicity and symmetry. The second most important lot is The Gate of the Kiss, 1935-38, which is estimated at €60,000-80,000.

During the last decade of his life, Dumitresco and Istrati lived with Brancusi, who created everything that they needed. From chairs and lamps to pipes and pots, it is these functional objects that comprise the bulk of the Artcurial sale and reveal a little known aspect of Brancusi’s art: a search for harmony between his sculptures and where he lived. His training as a carver of stone, wood and metal meant that Brancusi lived a life with objects almost exclusively of his own making.

A final portion of the Paris auction is made up of mementos and other items that explain Brancusi’s life in context, including the suitcases that he arrived in Paris with in 1903, and the ‘endless’ wine-press screw that was the inspiration behind one of his most celebrated works, the Endless Column.

Brancusi was famous for the meticulous placement and constant rearrangement of the objects in his studio, which has led the space being described as his most supreme work. Taken as a whole, the Constantin Brancusi: Works & Memorabilia sale at Artcurial is the ultimate explanation of life inside that studio.

More info:

Bid online: http://www.artcurial.com/en/asp/searchresults.asp?pg=1&ps=25&st=D&sale_no=1932

Viewing:
27 to 29 November, 11am-7pm
30 November, 11am-3pm

Atelier Brancusi at the Centre Pompidou, Paris:
http://www.centrepompidou.fr/education/ressources/ens-brancusi/ens-brancusi.htm