Bird in Space
Constantin Brancusi (Romanian, 1876-1957)
On View

Brancusi produced his first Bird in Space—a sleek abstraction of flight—in 1923. He went on to create fifteen variations on the theme, working in both bronze and marble. This version, cast in 1931, was acquired by Yashwant Rao Holkar II—the young Maharaja of Indore—for his Art Deco palace. During his visit to Brancusi’s studio in 1933, the Maharaja also reserved two other Birds in Space (in black marble and white, today at the National Gallery of Australia). When Brancusi shipped these to India three years later, he enclosed a note explaining, “My birds are a series of different objects based on a central theme that remains the same throughout. The ideal of its realization is to be an amplification that fills the whole vault of heaven.”


  • Artist Name: Constantin Brancusi (Romanian, 1876-1957)
  • Title: Bird in Space
  • Date: 1931
  • Medium: Polished bronze
  • Dimensions: 73 in. (185.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1972.08.S
  • Copyright: © Succession Brancusi / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

The artist, Paris, sold at least by April 1933, through;
[Henri-Pierre Roché, Paris, to];
Maharajah Yeshwant Rao Holkar Bahadur (1908-1961), Indore, given 1943 as part of divorce settlement to;
Peg Branyan, Dallas, by inheritance to;
Richard Holkar, Dallas, and Maharani Usha Devi, to;
[Richard L. Feigen and Co., New York, sold 1972 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

[on loan]

  • Palo Alto, Stanford University, Tressider Union, 1960 to

Constantine Brancusi 1876-1957

  • Centre Georges Pompidou, 1995-04-14 to 1995-08-21
  • Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1995-10-08 to 1996-02-11

Impossible Realities: Marcel Duchamp and the Surrealist Tradition

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1991-07-04 to 1992-03-08

The Universe: Creation, Constellations and the Cosmos

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2001-02-04 to 2001-06-04
  • Varia, Radu, Brancusi, pp. 236, 239
  • Bach Friedrich Taja, Constantin Brancusi, no. 248 p. 493
  • Tancock, John, The Connoisseur, fig. 9 p. 240
  • Geist, Sidney, Brancusi: A Study of the Sculpture, 1968, no. 184a, coll.: Richard Holkar, Dallas, Texas, ex Maharaha Holkar of Indore pp. 6, 247
  • Spear, Athena T., Brancusi's Birds, 1969, no. 20, pl. 26, coll.: Private Collection, on indefinite loan to Tressider Union, Stanford University
  • Geist, Sidney, Brancusi: The Sculpture and Drawings, 1975, no. 201 p. 133
  • Hulten, Pontus; Natalia Dumitresco and Alexandre Istrati, Brancusi, 1986, no. 188, as acquired in 1933 p. 310
  • Geidion-Welcher, Carola, Constantin Brancusi, 1987, p. 199
  • Bach, F. T. ; M. Rowell, A. Temkin, Constantine Brancusi, 1995, no. 97, as 1927?-1931 pp. 256-257, 272-273
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 774 p. 337
  • Stéphane-Jacques Addade, Raphaèle Billé, Julie Blum, Louise Curtis, Guigone Rolland, Moderne maharajah: un mécène des années 1930, 2019, p. 38, 66, 136, pp. 204-205; p. [206] (ill.)
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Muse (la Muse) Constantin Brancusi 1969 posthumous cast from 1912 plaster original

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