Antonovici was born in Neamt, Romania on February 18, 1911, and graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Iasi, Romania, in 1939. In 1940, Antonovici studied in Zagreb with the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovici, until his arrest by Italian fascists. Antonovici himself survived imprisonment in Germany for his refusal to fight on the side of the Nazis. After the war, he continued his studies in Vienna, under the tutelage of Professor Fritz Behn. In 1945 and again in 1947, Antonovici studied woodcarving in Tirol, Germany. He then traveled to Italy and finally to Paris where he met Constantin Brancusi, with whom he worked until 1951. Antonovici was the recipient of the only certificate Brancusi ever offered to a fellow sculptor. Even though artists more famous, such as Isamu Noguchi, Henry Moore, Jean Arp and Modigliani, collaborated with Brancusi, no one worked closer with the master than Antonovici.
Although Brancusi is often said to have given up on famous sculptors whom he did not consider worthy, Antonovici, thirty-five years his junior, captured his masters respect. He impressed by using a variety of materials, including wood, bronze, aluminum, marble, stone, and plastic. He also possessed an artistic lucidity that allowed him to stylize and simplify to find fundamental and essential forms, which was also central to Brancusi's art. Antonovici's recurring motif which surfaces almost obsessively throughout his creation was the owl, which he believed shared the sculptors capacity to see in the dark.
Antonovici moved to the United States in 1953, where he was given a studio and commissioned by the Cathedral St. John the Divine in New York City. During this period he created mostly ecumenical works, such as the marble lid of the coffin of Bishop William Manning, a stone cross on the Amsterdam Avenue side of the cathedral, 90 ft. from the street level, and portraits. Antonovici was highly prolific and widely recognized throughout his career. He exhibited in France, Italy, Romania, the US, and his sculptures were acquired by many private collectors. He was a member of the National Society of Literature and the Arts, the International Platform Association, and the National Sculptural Society, in addition to receiving an honorary medal from the Academy of Brazil. His bust of Dwight Eisenhower is part of the White House collection. Other classical busts he carved include Voltaire, Ludwig van Beethoven, Charles de Gaulle, Bishop William Manning, Ciprian Porumbescu (a Romanian composer), Brancusi, Homer, Moses, Mefistofel, Dali, Paulette. His work was reviewed and praised by numerous art critics including Alain Bosquet, Georges Boudaille, Michelle Seurier, Fritz Spitzer, Donelson F. Hoops, and Ralph Fabri. Constantin Antonovici died on Feb. 5th, 2002, in New York City. His work is in the permanent collection of the Kreeger Museum, Washington DC and a catalogue raissonee was published in 2013.
WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC exhibited artwork from the 1950s and 1960s, including some of his beloved owl sculptures.
Artwork © The Estate of Constantin Antonovici