Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This intimate sculpture is a later work in Brancusi’s continual study of Margit Pogany, a Hungarian painter who met and first posed for the artist in Paris in 1910. Hand demonstrates Brancusi’s increasingly reductive sculptural technique in his search to achieve representation through essential form. In this portrayal, the complex network of lines and curves that together compose a hand are distilled to the subtle contour of a single shape, carved in smooth, warm-hued marble. This sculpture has the potential to evoke both the seductive and the sinister; it is at once a fetish-like token and the uncanny relic of a dismembered body. Brancusi’s sculpture appealed to the surrealists because of what they saw as its allusions to the instinctual.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1964.110
People
Constantin Brancusi, Romanian (Hobita (Gorj), Romania 1876 - 1957 Paris, France)
Title
Hand of Mademoiselle Pogany
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
1920
Culture
Romanian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/213775
Location
Level 1, Room 1310, Modern and Contemporary Art, Surrealism
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Yellow marble
Dimensions
30.4 x 6.4 x 5.1 cm (11 15/16 x 2 1/2 x 2 in.)
Provenance
Constantin Brancusi, gift; to John Quinn, New York, New York, (1921-1924); toJohn Quinn Estate, (1924-1926). Meredith Hare, (1926-1932), by descent to David Hare. [Jane Wade Gallery, New York, New York], sold; to Fogg Art Museum, 1964.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Max Wasserman
Copyright
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Accession Year
1964
Object Number
1964.110
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Six Leading Sculptures and the Human Figure, page 290

Judith Zilczer, 'The Noble Buyer': John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde, exh. cat., Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington, D.C, 1978), cat. no. 6, repr., p. 151

Clive Dilnot, "The Enigma of Things", Harvard University Art Museums Bulletin (Cambridge, MA, Winter 1993 - Winter 1994), vol. II, no. 2, repr. p. 57

Ivan Gaskell, "Writing (and) Art History: Against Writing", The Art Bulletin, College Art Association of America (September 1996), pp. 403-406 (repro. p. 405)

Carmen Giménez, ed., Constantin Brancusi: The Essence of Things, exh. cat., Tate Gallery Publishing Limited (London, UK, 2004), p. 55, Fig. 30 (repr. in color), p. 55-6 (text)

Jacquelynn Baas, Smile of the Buddha: Eastern Philosophy and Western Art from Monet to Today, University of California Press (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London, 2005), p 70

Exhibition History

"The Noble Buyer:" John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., 01/01/1978 - 12/31/1978

Six Leading Sculptors and the Human Figure. Rodin, Bourdelle, Maillol, Brancusi, National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum, 116 01 Athens, 06/09/2004 - 09/30/2004

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

Modern Art and Modernity, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1310 Surrealism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu