Born in Romania, Constantin Brancusi first studied sculpture at the School of Arts and Crafts in Craiova (1894–98) and the National School of Fine Arts in Bucharest (1898–1902). In 1904 he left Romania permanently, traveling through Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Zurich, and Basel before settling in Paris. There, he continued his training at the École des Beaux-Arts (1905–07), and his work of the period attracted the attention of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. In Paris he was welcomed by a community of artists and intellectuals including Henri Rousseau, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, and Marcel Duchamp.
He made his debut in New York in 1913 at the Armory Show, where the sculptor exhibited five works that directed modern sculpture on a radical new path. His popularity in New York and the United States grew over the following years. "Without the Americans, I would not have been able to produce all this or even to have existed", said Constantin Brancusi to the New York Times in 1955 when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum celebrated his work with the first museum retrospective of his work. Brancusi's second Guggenheim retrospective occurred in 1969, and was held in the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda. MoMA included works by Brancusi in more than ten group exhibitions between 1934 and his death in 1957. It took until 1967 for a French museum to have a show dedicated to his work (Tribute to Brancusi, at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris), and until 1995 for the first full-scale exhibition in his adopted country at the Pompidou Center. Upon his death, Brancusi bequeathed a collection of his work to the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris on the condition that his studio be rebuilt as it was when he died. The reconstructed studio is located near the Pompidou Center, and was built under the directorship of Pontus Hulten.