Study for the Sculpture "The First Step"
Constantin Brancusi (French (born Romania), Hobita 1876–1957 Paris)
Brancusi made his most obvious reference to African art in his first wood sculpture, The First Step (1913). Shortly after exhibiting the work at 291 in March 1914, Brancusi partly destroyed it, perhaps finding its quotation of African aesthetics too immediate. Luckily, the sculpture remains known through the many studies that preceded its creation, among them this lucid 1913 wax-crayon study. Stieglitz's photographs of the Brancusi installation at 291 also document the lost sculpture. When comparing these installation shots with those of Statuary in Wood by African Savages, the central placement of both the Fang reliquary figure exhibited nearby and The First Step brings to light strong similarities.
African Art, New York, and the Avant-Garde
Through September 2