Nicky in Paris // Visiting Atelier Brancusi

This week whilst Nicky was in Paris for an architects meeting, we made an attempt to visit Atelier Brancusi close to the Marais, in the 4th arrondissement of the city. Forgetting museums are often closed on Tuesdays, we popped back the following afternoon. 

The Brancusi Atelier is in plain sight but also somewhat carefully hidden enough feel like you’re discovering something people don’t know about. You can walk in (free of charge) and take a stroll around Constantin Brancusi’s reconstructed atelier opposite the Pompidou Centre.

Constantin Brancusi lived and worked in Paris from 1904 until his death in 1957, this is where he produced most of his work. In his will, he bequeathed his entire studio to the French state.

An exact reconstruction housed inside the Renzo Piano designed building (his practice is just 5 minutes away, where you can watch his team make mini models of his projects from his shop front workshop studio) was made in 1997 on the piazza opposite the Pompidou Centre to house his collection. This consisted of 137 sculptures, 87 bases, 41 drawings, two paintings and over 1600 glass photographic plates and original prints.

From 1916 until his death, Brancusi worked in various studios on Impasse Ronsin in the 15th arrondissement. He used two and then three studios, knocking down the walls to create the first two rooms in which he exhibited his work.

You can read his timeline along the wall in the exhibition space. In 1936 and 1941, he added two other adjoining areas, which he used for works in progress, and to house his workbench and tools which you can see here at the Atelier.

The atelier is presented as a museum space containing the studio. When designing the space, Renzo Piano’s problem lay in making the space open to the public while respecting the artist’s wishes.

While the architect didn’t attempt to recreate the intimacy of the Impasse Ronsin, he preserved the idea of a protected, interiorised space where visitors are isolated from the street and the piazza, in particular by an enclosed garden, from which part of the studio can be seen through glass walls.

The space is open 2.00 – 6.00 p.m. every day except Tuesdays and 1 May.

Brancusi Atelier, Georges Pompidou Square, 75004 Paris

Nicky’s World June 2018