Viewing page 44 of 136

SEPTEMBER 1955  13

Among the European museums in which Brancusi's work is represented are the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris and the Tate Gallery in London. In the United States examples of his work are included in the Museum of Modern Art and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; the Buffalo (New York) Fine Arts Academy; the Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Art; and the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois.

The sculptor, who has dark eyes and a full white beard, is a short, robust man with strong, sensitive hands. Descriptions of his personality emphasize his modesty, geniality, and uncompromising devotion to work. Once celebrated for his hospitality and cuisine, he now leads a simple, secluded life in his much-photographed studio, which is filled with large blocks of stone and trunks of trees waiting to be used. Brancusi's fondness for music developed at an early age when he mastered the Gregorian chant and constructed a violin. In recent years he has immersed himself in the writings of certain Tibetan mystics and philosophers.

References
Art N 53:24+ O '54 por
Horizon 19:193+ Mr '49
Bénézit, E. Ed. Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs (1949)
Dictionnaire Biographique des Artistes Contemporains, 1910-1930
Ritchie, A. C. Sculpture of the Twentieth Century (1952)


BREECH, ERNEST R(OBERT) Feb. 24, 1897-  Corporation executive

Address: b. Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich.; h. W. Long Lake Rd., Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

The three-year agreement between the Ford Motor Company and the United Automobile Workers, CIO, signed on June 6, 1955, is a good thing for the workers, the company and the entire nation, in the opinion of Ernest R. Breech, chairman of the board of the Ford Motor Company. He was elected to this post on January 25, 1955, becoming the first board chairman in the company's history. "Breech is an Horatio Alger story come true," commented Business Week. He joined the Ford company as executive vice-president in 1946 after a twenty-one year association with General Motors Corp. and other companies. He is recognized as one of America's leading executives in the aviation and automotive fields.

At the age of thirty-seven, he became head of North American Aviation, Inc., in 1939 he was elected a corporation vice-president of General Motors and in 1942 he was chosen president of the Bendix Aviation Corporation, the company he left to join the Ford Motor Company at a salary estimated at "more than $200,000 a year." As chairman, Breech shares basic management responsibilities with the company's president, Henry Ford 2d. In announcing Breech's election to the chairmanship, Ford credited him with playing a major role in the company's spectacular growth since 1946.

"The son of the best blacksmith in the Ozarks" (Newsweek, May 27, 1946), Ernest Robert Breech was born on February 24, 1897 in Lebanon, Missouri to Joseph F. E. and Martha (Atchley) Breech. "As a boy," according to the New York Herald Tribune (January 30, 1955), "he worked with an older brother in his father's blacksmith shop, where carriage making was a specialty." At Lebanon High School he was a good enough baseball player to earn an offer of a tryout with the St. Louis Browns' professional club.

In 1915 Breech entered Drury College at Springfield, Missouri, with the hope of becoming a lawyer. In 1917 he left college, where he had achieved a scholastic average of 93, to join the accounting department of Fairbanks, Morse and Company, a Chicago firm, at a salary of $15 a week. At night he studied accountancy at the Walton School of Commerce, Chicago, from which, by taking correspondence courses, he was able to graduate in half the usual time. Cost accountancy was especially interesting to him.

"I realized," Robert Coughlan (Life, February 28, 1955) reported Breech as saying, "that it was here that a business stood or fell—on cost controls. That was the nut of any business." Breech is a "quick person, who in 1920 read a book on accounting one night and the next day began setting up a new system for a Chicago manufacturer" (Newsweek, February 7, 1955). In 1921 he won the degree of C.P.A. from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

From 1920 until 1922 he was an auditor for Adams and Westlake. In the latter year the Illinois Manufacturers Cost Association invited him to discuss means of establishing machine-hour rates. "In the audience was the treasurer of the Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company, who hired Ernie on the spot," wrote Newsweek (May 27, 1946). Breech served as comptroller of the company until 1929. When Yellow Cab merged with General Motors in 1925, Breech was retained in his post, and in 1927 became a director of the Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company.

"Young Breech made a deep impression on General Motors executives," according to Look (April 10, 1951), "and by 1930 was general assistant treasurer of GM." In that capacity he supervised the merger of the General Aviation Corporation and North American Aviation, Inc., then a GM affiliate. In 1934, thanks to his "nervous energy and keen talent for figures," he became president and chairman of the board of North American Aviation. Three years later he was appointed a group executive at GM, and in 1939 he became vice-president in charge of the household appliance division and of aviation subsidiaries.

In February 1942, on his forty-fifth birthday, Breech resigned his GM vice-presidency to accept, wrote Time (March 9, 1942), "the grandest birthday present of his life: the presidency of crucial Bendix Aviation Corporation," a leading manufacturer of airplane parts. "In the fast-moving aviation business," Time commented, "Breech is a sprinter." A year after he assumed the presidency, the company tripled 
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.