Tragically, Polaire was struck and killed by a car in 1925. “Brancusi was desolated,” Golding writes, “although characteristically he also remarked that her disappearance would enable him to concentrate harder on his sculpture.” Brancusi buried her in a pet cemetery at Asnieres. Then he got back to work.
In the last three decades of Brancusi’s career, before his own death in 1957, “depictions of animals far outnumber those of people,” Golding notes. The artist was inspired not just by his love of Polaire, but by his well-worn copy of La Fontaine’s Fables—classic French stories that, like most fables, “characterizes human frailty in terms of animal behaviour.”