Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Photograph of The Miracle

In 1994 Eskenazi Museum of Art acquired five rare vintage photographs (Eskenazi Museum of Art 94.93–.97) by Constantin Brancusi, considered by many scholars as the most important sculptor of the twentieth century. These photographs were given to the museum by Lois Lord. During World War II, while serving as a recreation worker in Paris for the American Red Cross, she was asked by a co-worker to deliver a letter from Edward Steichen of the Museum of Modern Art to Brancusi. As an artist and art teacher herself, she regarded the task as a privilege. Arriving at Brancusi’s studio in the Impasse Ronsin, she was greeted by the artist dressed in his characteristic white laborer’s overalls and cap. After presenting Steichen’s letter and a carton of cigarettes, Miss Lord complimented Brancusi’s work and turned to leave. Upon hearing of her interest in art, he offered her some Turkish coffee and a tour of his studio. Finally, as she departed, he cut a flower from the plant on the table and offered it along with his invitation to come back often. This she did, and it was during these encounters that the elderly artist often showed her new pieces, including watercolors and beautiful photographs that he had taken of his own works. On one such occasion he gave her several photographs, including images of his sculptures and studio, which she treasured and later donated to the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art.

The photographs of Brancusi’s celebrated sculptures, such as The Miracle, reflect the simple abstract forms and whimsical sense of humor that made his art emblematic of the modern age. Unlike many contemporary artists, Brancusi chose to photograph his own works, thus mastering two mediums. As the critic Henry McBride put it, he could provide his objects with an ideal intimate environment of his own creation and “friendly shadows.”

Constantin Brancusi
Romanian (active in France), 1876–1957
Photograph of The Miracle
Gelatin silver print
Image/sheet: 9 7/16 x 7 1/16 in. (24.0 x 17.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Lois Lord, 94.93

Large image not available.