In 1926 Brancusi completed this bronze sculpture of 'Bird in Space' in his Paris studio and sold it to Steichen who made arrangements to ship it to New York. As an art work, the piece should have cleared U.S. customs duty-free. However, the agent in attendance at the time of its arrival refused to consider it art, instead believing it was a kitchen utensil. Steichen was forced to pay $200 in duty or abandon the sculpture. Some time later Steichen relayed the story to Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney who was so outraged she financed a lawsuit in defense of the sculpture and art in general. The case of "Brancusi vs. the U.S." was won by Steichen and a new legal standard for defining art was established.