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Margit Pogany (Hungarian, 1879–1964)

Margit Pogany, an art student living in Paris, sat for a portrait with Constantin Brancusi in 1910 or early 1911. Brancusi’s sculpture of Pogany gained immense notoriety for its shockingly austere, smoothly machine-like appearance when first exhibited as a plaster cast in New York in 1913. In the same year, having returned to her native Budapest, Pogany made this work, her only known self-portrait, with her face half-hidden in shadow and a pensive hand-on-cheek pose similar to the Brancusi portrait. Pogany, a Hungarian Jew, was documented as a Holocaust survivor after the Second World War and resettled in Australia in 1948. Her family sold her painted self-portrait to the museum, whose collection includes two versions of Mademoiselle Pogany by Brancusi in white marble (1933-24-1; 1950-134-21).

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