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A sculpture of yellow marble.

The sculpture is made from golden yellow marble. One end is oval and is marked with lighter colored areas and darker veining. The piece tapers in slightly before widening in a gently rounded curve and taper to a point at the end. The surface overall is smooth and highly polished.

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
Constantin Brancusi, Romanian (Hobita (Gorj), Romania 1876 - 1957 Paris, France)
Hand of Mademoiselle Pogany
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1310, Modern and Contemporary Art, Surrealism
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Physical Descriptions

Yellow marble
30.4 x 6.4 x 5.1 cm (11 15/16 x 2 1/2 x 2 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
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
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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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

Verification Level

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