April 10, 2017

Constantin Brâncusi’s Endless Column Restored to Glory

Thanks to lighting by L’Observatoire International and landscaping by Olin, Constantin Brâncusi’s restored Endless Column has a fitting home in Târgu Jiu, Romania. Photography courtesy of Studio Dubuisson.

A favorite motif of Constantin Brâncusi was a totemlike stack of truncated rhomboids executed in various materials. The first version, an indoor sculpture, stands about 10 feet high. The most famous Endless Column, 98 feet tall, anchors the Endless Column Park in a Romanian mining town, Târgu Jiu.

All 16 cast-iron modules were threaded on a steel spine. Photography courtesy of Centrul Brâncusi.

It was in 1935 that Brâncusi was commissioned to create a sculpture as a memorial honoring soldiers who had defended Târgu Jiu during the First World War. Completed right before the Second World War, as it turned out, the column eventually suffered damage at the hands of the Communists. After it was placed on the World Monuments Fund’s watch list in 1996, the resulting years-long restoration effort was mired in controversy.

A 1937 image shows a 6-foot-tall basswood model of a module being fabricated. Photography courtesy of Centrul Brâncusi.

Finally, with the cast-iron modules sandblasted and re-clad in brass and the steel spine supporting them rebuilt, the conservation of the landscaping has been overseen by Olin, and L’Observatoire International has added lighting. Dramatically lit by in-ground metal-halides, Endless Column is “bright at the base but fades into the night sky,” L’Observatoire principal Hervé Descottes says. Perhaps a pathway to heaven.

> See more from the March 2017 issue of Interior Design

Metal-halide up-lights illuminate the sculpture. Photography courtesy of Studio Dubuisson.

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