Art: Sculptor's Revenge

For more than 50 years, the Rumanian-born Sculptor Constantin Brancusi hvec in Paris—and for more than 50 years, Paris studiously ignored him. He lived in a studio-shack among a cluster of crumbling shanties in the Impasse Ronsin, a coal-begrimed dead-end street in Mont parnasse inhabited by struggling artists.

With each passing year he became more cantankerous, his beard more scraggly, his clothes more rumpled. He had his shar of French visitors—but they were mostly adoring women, whom he would feed tiny onions coated with cheese. His buyers usually came from abroad. When he...

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