A celebration of Brancusi and Duchamp’s creative friendship

Paul Kasmin Gallery offers an exhibition of rare sculptures, drawings and photographs

Leda by Constantin Brancusi, 1925
Leda by Constantin Brancusi, 1925 | Image: Succession Brancusi (2018) Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY/ADAGP, Paris

A unique and extraordinary friendship comes under the spotlight at New York’s Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York on Thursday September 20. Brancusi & Duchamp: The Art of Dialogue will feature more than 70 sculptures, drawings and photographs created in parallel by the pair, whose relationship began in the 1910s and spanned five decades. It is the first show of its kind by any American museum or gallery.

Nude Descending a Staircase, No 2 by Marcel Duchamp, 1937
Nude Descending a Staircase, No 2 by Marcel Duchamp, 1937 | Image: Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2018. Courtesy Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, LLC

While stylistically different, Constantin Brancusi and Marcel Duchamp shared many themes in their work: an interest in film and photography, eroticism, gender roles and challenging the notions of what was traditionally considered art. So deep was the boundary-pushing duo’s respect for one another that Duchamp oversaw and installed Brancusi’s first major solo exhibition in the US in 1926.

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Many pieces will be on loan to Paul Kasmin Gallery from cultural institutions and private collections, but there will also be works for sale (from $100,000 to $10m). In addition to one lifetime Brancusi sculpture and four posthumous casts in polished bronze, the exhibition will include photographic prints of some of the artist’s most noted three-dimensional works, such as LedaEndless Column and Princess X. These images – created in Brancusi’s Paris studio – are exemplary of his experimentation with theatrical light and shadow. Fans of Brancusi’s modern abstract forms will be transfixed by casts including the 1928/2013 La Jeune Fille Sophistiquée (Portrait de Nancy Cunard) or Le Nouveau-Né (The Newborn 1) from 1920/2003 – an ongoing ovoid exploration of a child’s head, sculpted in wood, marble and bronze.

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Duchamp’s artistry and humour will be in full force thanks to ready-mades and playful pieces including In Advance of the Broken Arm (1915/1964), With Hidden Noise (1916/1964) and LHOOQ (1919/1964). Fauvist paintings include Nude with Black Stockings (1910), and there’s also a collotype of his well-known Nude Descending a Staircase, No 2.

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