Constantin Brancusi and the Image of Trade: Aspects of Trade in the Realm of Modern Fine Arts

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Abstract:

In the 1920s, when the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi started to establish his international reputation, numerous critics and photographs evoked his "image" as an honest and skilled artisan. The connection of fine arts and crafts is recurrently analyzed from the perspective of the crafts. With regards to Brancusi's appearance as artisan, however, the opposite perspective has to be sought by asking why notions of craftsmanship would serve as critical arguments in the field of modern art. By following this perspective, the article will thus explore the conceptual meaning of artisanal work in the context of the European avant-garde.

Keywords: ARTISAN; CRAFTSMANSHIP; FINE ART; HANDICRAFT; INDUSTRIALIZATION; LE BIEN FAIRE; MATERIAL; MODERN SCULPTURE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/174967810X12868890612321

Publication date: November 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Modern Craft is the first peer-reviewed academic journal to provide an interdisciplinary and international forum on the subject of craft. It addresses all forms of making that self-consciously set themselves apart from mass production— whether in the making of designed objects, artworks, buildings, or other artifacts.

    The journal covers craft in all its historical and contemporary manifestations. This ranges from the mid-nineteenth century, when handwork was first consciously framed in opposition to industrialization, through to the present time, when ideas once confined to the “applied arts” have come to seem vital across a huge range of cultural activities. Special emphasis is placed on studio practice, and on the transformations of indigenous forms of craft activity throughout the world. The journal also reviews and analyzes the relevance of craft within new media, folk art, architecture, design, contemporary art, and other fields.

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