About the Sculpture:
Constantin Brancuşi’s series of works titled The Kiss constitutes one of the most celebrated depictions of love in the history of art. Utilizing a limestone block, the artist employed the method of direct carving to produce the incised contours that delineate the male and female forms. The juxtaposition of smooth and rough surfaces paired with the dramatic simplification of the human figures, which are shown from the waist up, may suggest Brancusi’s awareness of “primitive” African sculpture and perhaps also of the Cubist works of his contemporaries. The artist carved this sculpture specifically for John Quinn, the New York lawyer and art collector who had been interested in obtaining an earlier version of The Kiss (1907-8) that was no longer in the sculptor’s possession. When Quinn later inquired about the proper way to display his new acquisition, Brancusi responded that the work should be placed “just as it is, on something separate; for any kind of arrangement will have the look of an amputation. ” An archival photograph in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art reveals that Louise and Walter Arensberg, who later acquired the piece, installed The Kiss atop the artist’s Bench (1914-16) beside six stone sculptures from their collection of Pre-Columbian art.
Melissa Kerr, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 164.