Constantin Brancusi, French (born Romania), 1876 - 1957

c. 1914-1916


9 feet 4 5/8 inches × 8 feet 1 inches × 8 5/8 inches (286.1 × 246.4 × 21.9 cm)

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

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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Additional information:
  • PublicationConstantin Brancusi: 1876-1957

    Arch is the most closely related to Bench (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1950-134-23) in its direct use of salvaged architectural material. Here Brancusi adapted a found overdoor element to create a new architectural configuration. The massive curved lintel retains a large area of old paint, nail and rod holes, and carving molding edges. The two matching red beams, the left one slightly wider than the right, have upper tenons that Brancusi slid into the lintel. The very weathered bottom element was probably a crown molding with mortises that originally held the upper ends of supporting posts. Brancusi inverted the beam and widened the two mortises, into which he then inserted the lower ends of the vertical beams. Arch was not built to be freestanding; the bottom cannot support the beams as inserted.

    Like the furnishings Brancusi was making for his new studio at 8, impasse Ronsin, Bench (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1950-134-23), Arch, and Caryatid (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums) were made to function as part of a unified environment. In 1916, Brancusi wrote to Walter Pach that he was "glad Mr. Quinn has taken them all especially because, as you recall, they were meant to be placed around sculptures that are for the most part at his place" (Brancusi to Pach, October 4, 1916, Quinn collections, NYPL). Quinn had purchased the works in anticipation of bringing them to a house he bought in Long Island in 1915. Quinn never used the house, however, and Bench and Arch lay in his basement until he sold them in 1920 to Marius de Zayas. Both works were subsequently purchased by the Arensbergs, who made them focal points in their Hollywood home. Ann Temkin, from Constantin Brancusi 1876-1957 (1995), p.134.