Golden Bird uses the material to merely suggest the shape of feet,tail, and beak as part of a defined silhouette. Brancusi mounted his Golden Bird on a rough, light-reflective base in stark contrast to the sleekness of the sculpture. After completing the sculpture, in around 1919-20, Brancusi photographed the work and a resulting genaltin silver print, taken by the sculptor himself, was sold at auction in late 2016 for 62,500 US dollars. Brancusi decided to photograph the sculpture himself after being underwealmed by the efforts of others whose images, he felt, made his work look 'uninspired'. The photographic style presented by Brancusi was not considered, at the time, to be 'professional', however, in later years his photographs have become recognised as being imaginative and reflecting the artist's great genius.
The inspiration for the bird sculptures originated from a Romanian folk tale that Brancusi had liked as a child. The story was of a golden bird known as the Maiastra. The Malastra's magical song was renowned for having the power to renew the sight of those who were blind and to return the elderly to their youth. Along with Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, and others, Brancusi serched for inspiriation in cultures from beyond Europe, craving a more primative and exotic interpretation within his sculptures. Brancusi had grown up in his native Romania where he had shown considerable skill at woodworking and scupting wood as a youngster. Such were his creative skills, he is reported to have hand crafted a violin from waste materials at the age of 18.
Brancusi moved to Paris and after passing through a number of eminent sculptors' studios he received his first comission. Known as 'The Prayer', the work was part of a tombstone or graveyard memorial piece with the work displaying the artist's first signs of the 'abstract' and 'non-realistic' interpretation that would unveil his ambition to show 'the essence' rather than 'the realistism' of the forms in his work. A later work,'Bird in Space', was created by Brancusi in 1923 and continued his interest in the subject of birds and flight. In 2005, this particular work was sold at auction for 27.5 million US dollars. The amount paid was, at that time, a world record for a sculpture offered for sale at auction.