Discussion Questions: Constantin Brancusi’s La Négresse blonde (The Blond Negress)

This abstract sculpture, which stands six feet tall, consists of a simple white limestone base on which sits a black marble stand, and a shiny, elongated ellipsoid bronze head. The title suggests that the figure depicted is a woman of African descent.

Constantin Brancusi, La Négresse blonde (The Blond Negress), 1926; collection SFMOMA, gift of Agnes E. Meyer and Elise S. Haas; © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

  1. Look at this work for thirty seconds, then look away and draw the objects or shapes that you remember most clearly. Why do you think you remembered what you did?
  2. Now, take a closer look at the work and add to your sketch, noting the shapes, colors, textures, and lines that you see.
  3. Think of a title for this work that is based on what you’ve noticed about it. Then take a look at the actual title. How does knowing the title change your understanding of the work?

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