Dor de romanesc, Iutta's Stories

The great lovers of Brâncuşi: Eileen Lane

June 19, 2018

It’s been nearly a month since we told you about Brâncuşi’s first love, Margit Pogany. Today we continue to uncover the story of Constantin Brâncuşi’s life and work and we talk about Eileen Lane.


Eileen the muse


In 1922, Eileen Lane had just finished her long journey from America to Paris when she met Brâncuşi. The Irish American beauty came to Europe to forget about a failed engagement and was fascinated by this talented artist that was 20 years older than her. Though the bond between them became a strong one in a short time, Eileen was still rigid in thought and full of prejudices. The longing for the house and the desire to make Eileen happy has caused Brâncuşi to suggest a trip to Romania, a journey meant to change her ideas. He told her not to worry about what the others would say, he would introduce her as his daughter. Vasile Georgescu Paleolog stated in his book:


“Eileen Lane … and she is a good Irish peasant, musician. She was a blameless woman, downy and fiery and skinny, shy and shameful, but not mild, but with an inappropriate justification of merit and rights between man and woman, insisting on being what it was. They were always entertained or engaged in company and the expenses were split in two and every one knew his place: no morning they reddened their cheeks from the dawn for not being able to find everyone in his place , so sincerely respecting what could be said that no one understood their thoughts or their intentions to preserve what they were not: husband and wife, but true friends of the combination of a strangeness that is no longer known. “


Irina Codreanu, Eileen Lane and Lizica Codreanu 

The travel


So, between 11 September and 7 October 1922, the sculptor and Eileen Lane spent unforgettable moments in Romania. Impressed by the autumnish vibe of the city known as Little Paris, Eileen remembers their arrival in Bucharest. Here they met with an old friend, indulged themselves with Romanian food and reminenced.



From Bucharest, the trip continued to Sinaia, where they stopped for a few days, then they made a stop at a monastery close to Ramnicu Valcea. The next moment of the visit was on a “carriage on the roads of untold beauty” to Târgu-Jiu. We would have liked to have been able to travel with Brâncuşi through the country too!



Brâncuși’s village, Hobița


Constantin Brâncuşi once said that his village, Hobita, was “a resource of joy for all his life.” In 1922 he shared his resource with one of his muses. At Hobiţa, Eileen Lane appreciated and immediately integrated into the Romanian village. She has been received into the great family, with a warmth she has never encountered anywhere else in the world. She would also say later:


“The peasants have brought me popular clothes, showed me how to dress them, and then we started all together to walk on the high street of the village. We were given a house where two young people were about to live and they had to marry shortly. The priest of the village spoke French, but I understood myself with the women in the village and without his help, with gestures and especially with laughter. I was laughing with the girls in the village and the entire time I stayed in Hobiţa, it was always a feast. “



While staying in the sculptor’s native village, the two attended a wedding, visited places near Târgu-Jiu and, before leaving, threw a big party on the Hobita Hill. Before leaving, Brâncuşi asked one of her grandchildren to find the best workwoman in the village to make the most beautiful traditional costume for Eileen Lane to wear.



In Paris


Even though this trip was as if taken from a genuine Romanian dream, once they returned to Paris, the connection between them was over. In spite of the great love that Eileen had for Constantin Brancusi, she decided that the age difference was too big and returned to America where she married. They were, however, good friends for life.


“I want to thank you for the days together. But it hurt to see you suffer, just as I was afraid of not being able to show you a affection that I no longer have the right to share with you. “



Even though he was inspired by the unparalleled beauty of the Irish girl, it was not until 1923 that Brancusi grafted the Eileen portrait into a white stone. Full of contradictory feelings, happiness and sadness, love and loss, the sculptor has kept this portrait in his studio for life. Four years later, in 1927, the portrait “Eileen” was born in black onyx.





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