JOYCE, James. Death Mask


1 in stock

Bronzed plaster, stamped with initials and dated on reverse; also inscribed on reverse ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Dead Man or Corpus Dedalus For Margaret & Gordon from Breige & Victor Con abrazos besos y muchas Powers’. The mask is a copy of the original made by Swiss artist, Paul Speck shortly after the death of the famous author in 1941.
In the early hours of January 13, 1941 James Joyce died in a Swiss hospital. His wife Nora, son Giorgio, and friend Carola Giedion-Welcker rushed to his bedside, but arrived moments too late. Perhaps as a means of assuaging their grief, Giedion-Welcker suggested to Nora Joyce that a death mask be made of her husband. Nora consented and the sculptor Paul Speck was commissioned by Giedion-Welker. Speck made two plaster negatives of Joyce’s visage either later in the day on the 13th or the following day. Two of these examples are now held by the James Joyce Foundation in Zurich and the James Joyce Museum in Dublin. This particular portrait was cast following an extensive study of the original masks and photographs of Joyce by the artist. This resulted in the work bearing an extremely close resemblance to the original mask, with only minor differences.


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