PRINT November 1972




May I contribute belatedly an addition to Katherine J. Michaelsen’s article on “Brancusi and African Art,” Artforum, November, 1971, pp. 72–77. In spite of the lack of any real documentary evidence, Ms. Michaelsen’s comparative material was excellently chosen and quite convincing. However, perhaps because she was looking for an African influence only in Brancusi’s woods (the earliest of which date from ca. 1913), she overlooked some important earlier examples.

In a long review of lonel Jianou’s Brancusi monograph, which appeared in the Art Bulletin, June, 1964, pp. 260–66, I pointed out (p. 262) what I consider to be the first examples of Brancusi’s influence from African art. His Head of a Girl (also known as “Première Pierre Directe”) of 1907–08 (fig. 1) has always seemed to me particularly close to some Baule masks from the Ivory Coast (e.g., fig. 2). They have in common the

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