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The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is closed for refurbishment until Summer 2024.

See & Do


Brâncuşi, Britain and the Idea of Modern Sculpture

Studios & Gardens, Hertfordshire

Black and white photo of five older men wearing suits. Henry Moore, Frank McEwan, Herbert Read and Paul Eluard stand to the right, with Constantin Brâncuşi to the left. He has a large beard and holds a hat in his hands.

Join us as we examine Constantin Brâncuşi’s reception in Britain, its wider resonance in modern and contemporary art and the impact it has made on changing definitions of modern sculpture in Britain.

Brâncuşi is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, hailed by Henry Moore for stripping back sculpture’s centuries-old overgrowth and restoring its shape consciousness. Brâncuşi’s artistic innovations drew the attention of an international network of Modernist peers throughout his career, including in Britain, where his work was first exhibited in 1913.

In more recent decades, historians have reckoned with the complexity of the artist’s work in new ways, teasing out its dynamics of difference and repetition, transience and permanence, abstraction and embodiment. This conference will invite participants to continue this dialogue, taking this plural view of Brâncuşi as a touchstone for questions about the relationship between British sculpture and the international avant-garde.

This conference marks the conclusion of the Henry Moore Foundation’s research season ‘Brâncuşi and Britain’, organised to coincide with the major exhibition of Brâncuşi’s work at Centre Pompidou, Paris in spring 2024. Alex Potts (University of Michigan) will deliver the keynote presentation.


The Brâncuşi and Britain Research Season has been kindly supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute.

Romanian Cultural Institute logo


Tickets to this event cost £15 (£10 concessions) + booking fee, and can be booked online via Eventbrite.


Minibus shuttle

We will be offering a minibus shuttle to Henry Moore Studios & Gardens from Stevenage and Bishop’s Stortford rail stations at a cost of £5 per person. Please indicate on your booking if you would like to reserve a seat on either service. The shuttle from Stevenage station will depart at 9:00, the shuttle from Bishop’s Stortford will depart at 9:45. Both will return after the wine reception at 19:15.

Travel Bursaries

There are a limited number of travel bursaries of up to £100 available to support students and low/unwaged attendees. These will be offered on a first come, first served basis. To apply for a bursary, please email with proof of student or low/unwaged status, stating where you are travelling from and the amount you wish to apply for.


Book your ticket


Arrival, registration and refreshments


Welcome and Introduction


An introduction to the day’s programme and to the venue
Laura Barlow (Henry Moore Foundation) and Dr Jonathan Vernon

Panel 1: Practical Histories

Chaired by Natalie Rudd

‘The Hand of Mademoiselle Pogany and Brâncuşi photographs’
David Ward

Title TBC
Toby Christian, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Central Saint Martins

‘Constantin Brâncuşi si Republica Socialista Romania in viatai si lucru de Nicolae Pope Sculptura Inglese’
Nicholas Pope

Panel discussion and questions

Curator’s tour of studios & sculpture gardens

Optional tour taking place over part of the lunch break



Panel 2: Language and its Limits

Chaired by Sam Rose

‘The Poets’ Brâncuşi’
Jack Quinn

‘From Brâncuşi to Hepworth: the Unspeakable Experience of Reality’
Pamela Bianchi

‘Kernel, Nucleus, Core: Tim Scott in the 1960s’
Sam Cornish

Panel discussion and questions



Panel 3: Forms in Space

Chaired by Dr Chris Stephens

”FISH WILL SWIM FOREVER…’ unlocking a curatorial and conservation methodology at Kettle’s Yard through Brâncuşi’s Poisson d’or
Inga Fraser

‘‘Promise not to write about me until I am dead’: the stories of David Lewis and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s visit to Brâncuşi’s studio’
Cassia Pennington

Panel discussion and questions



Keynote speech: Professor Alex Potts


‘Brancusi and Moore – Human/Animal’

Closing remarks by Jonathan Vernon


Wine reception in the Aisled Barn


Who is Brâncuși?

Our research season ‘Brâncuşi and Britain’ re-examines the life and impact of Constantin Brâncuşi (1876-1957) among British artists, writers and thinkers. But who was Brâncuşi?

Join Brâncuşi expert Dr Jonathan Vernon in this film as he explores the life and art of the artist, discussing his profound impact on modern art.

Getting here

Henry Moore Studios & Gardens

Experience Henry Moore’s iconic work in the beautiful Hertfordshire countryside with a visit to the artist’s former home, studios and sculpture gardens.

Perry Green
SG10 6EE
United Kingdom

T:  01279 843 333