Nature has a grand design, but its manifestations unfold in imperfection and specificity. Respect for this persistent individuality in natural forms is the underpinning of my work.

-Emilie Brzezinski

Emilie Benes Brzezinski, Sculptor, 1932- 2022


Born in 1932 in Geneva, Switzerland, Emilie Benes Brzezinski immigrated to the United States and grew up in California. She graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Art History in 1953. She received a scholarship to Boston Museum School, Massachusetts, in 1954 and completed a one year apprenticeship at Atelier du Feu in 1956.  She started her art career in the 1970s with a series of solo shows in Washington, D.C. and New York.  Emilie has exhibited in the United States and Eastern Europe, particularly in the Czech Republic where her family is from. In 1961, Emilie married Zbigniew Brzezinski, a foreign policy scholar, political scientist, and National Security Advisor to President Carter. They had three children; Ian, Mark and Mika.

Brzezinski began her art career in the 1970s working with a variety of media, including resins, latex, and wood fiber. Her expressive themes always related to nature. Eventually, she shifted focus to creating monumental wood sculpture, using a chain saw and ax to carve towering forms that breathed new life into felled trunks. Her work remains as completely unique, and is a manifestation of her heritage, her love of nature, her engineering intuition, and her creative and aesthetic mind. Her influences are varied. As Emilie notes; “I am ever amazed,” she says, “how my culture of origin has influenced my work. Too long I was blind to those origins, possibly because I never lived in the home country of my parents,” says the Swiss-born artist of Czech origin.

During the last two decades, Brzezinski has had several gallery and museum installations both in the United States and overseas. Many of her works are in the Czech Republic, the country of her family’s origin. There, “Prague Titans” gazes upon the Vltava River, and a more restrained installation, “Broken Blocks” can be seen in the National Gallery in Prague. In the United States, her bronze “Arch in Flight” stands just two blocks from the White House in front of the Federal Reserve building on New York Avenue, and her most monumental work to date, “Lament”, greets visitors in the front circle of the Kreeger Museum. Outside the nation’s capital, Brzezinski sculptures can be found in Chicago at The Society for Arts as well as in New Jersey at the respected Grounds for Sculpture park. Emilie’s Cherry Bench II is on loan to the Nada Marie Anid, PhD Art Gallery in the Lincoln Square District in New York City.

Understanding the work of Emilie Brzezinski is acknowledging her astute awareness of nature, and her deep respect for the continuity of life.  The sculpture of Emilie Brzezinski is the embodiment of the extension of life even when the life withers, and appears seemingly unimportant.

To quote Emilie from the Washington Times in 2005; “I consider my tree forms to be metaphors of humanity and its struggle for survival.”