Modern and Contemporary Art
Artist: Constantin Brancusi, Romanian, 1876–1957

Yellow Bird


Yellow marble, limestone, and oak

base (Top limestone base): 20 × 39.4 cm(7 7/8 × 15 1/2 in.)
base (Oak base): 68.3 × 24.5 cm(26 7/8 × 9 5/8 in.)
221.6 cm (87 1/4 in.)
marble: 92 × 15.2 × 17.2 cm (36 1/4 × 6 × 6 3/4 in.)
base (bottom limestone base): 20 × 39.4 cm(7 7/8 × 1
Gift of Katherine S. Dreier
The blending of hand-worked natural materials such as wood, stone, or bronze with abstract form is characteristic of Brancusi’s unique brand of modernism. This work balances color, texture, and form through a contrast of sensuous organic materials: sleek, veined marble, roughly textured wood, and smooth white limestone. While the use of natural materials and subject matter evokes the eternal theme of nature, the bird’s upwardly striving, aerodynamic form nevertheless expresses the modern urge toward speed and space. The incorporation of the base as an essential element of the sculpture is typical of the artist’s oeuvre.
On view
20th century

Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity, exh. cat. (New York: Ukrainian Museum, 2005).

Ruth L. Bohan et al., The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, ed. Jennifer Gross, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 152, fig. 13.

Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter, and Elise K. Kenney, The Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984), 85, no. 58, ill.

Athena T. Spear, Brancusi’s Birds (New York: New York University Press, 1969), 13, no. 10, fig. 15.

Sidney Geist, Brancusi: A Study of the Sculpture (New York: Grossman, 1968), 68, 200–201, no. 116.

H. E. F., “The Little Review, Autumn 1921,” Arts 2 (December 1921): 186–87, ill.

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 126–27, fig. 122.

Ketevan Kintsurashvili, David Kakabadzé: Georgian Modern Artist and Inventor (New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2013), 140.

James Prosek and Edith Devaney, James Prosek: Art, Artifact, Artifice, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2020), 84, pl. 62.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.