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Masterworks of Sculpted Portraiture

Works by Jo Davidson

Works by Karen Newman

I've included this section below of portrait work by sculptors mostly active during the 20's, 30’s and 40's. A period I believe of special significance when it seems there was a revived interest in sculpture, and also in direct carving, particularly in Britain.

There was also a change of attitude towards material, looking for and using its inherent qualities rather than merely imposing the sculpture upon it.

Portraits of ‘Haili Salasi’ and ‘Charles Laughton’

The portrait of Haili Salasi (left) was carved from wood and has the primitive qualities of an African mask and yet manages to maintain a strong image of the great man, as does the Charles Laughton head (above), but in a more realistic way and yet with a stylization redolent of the Art Deco movement of the time. Both of these portraits by Sava Botzaris


Portraits of ‘Bronsky’ and ‘Ezra Pound’
The man with the moustache, ‘Bronsky’, modeled and cast in bronze, and ‘Ezra Pound’ carved in stone, were sculpted by Gaudier-Brzeska. He suddenly dropped painting in favour of sculpture, and left an extraordinary and wonderful collection of powerful work before being killed at the age of 23 in the first world war.

The Greeks had a word for statue which meant simply ‘a thing of delight’

Frank Dobson’s portrait of Osbert Sitwell / Maurice Lambert’s portrait of Edith Sitwell

Osbert Sitwell was sculpted by Frank Dobson, His sister, Edith by Maurice Lambert. Both suggest the age of machine made things and also reflect the influence of Deco and yet in their highly stylized manner, are nevertheless strong portraits.

David McFall’s portrait of Atlee

Clay, the most malleable of materials one can do just about anything, (sometimes too much!). However it can be handled thoughtfully and expressively and placed and modeled meaningfully, using finger and tools, rather than smeared and gouged. This is an exceptional example.

Andrew O’Conner’s portrait of Lord D’Abernon

  An even looser approach to surface modeling where one can almost feel the flourish in the handling of the clay.

Marion Walton ‘Man’s Head’
Carved in African wonder stone and the featuresand hair merely incised on the surface to great effect.

Portrait of ‘Pr.William of Sweden’

by Stig Blomberg

One of a number of excellent Scandinavian sculptors of this era.

‘Bruno Giacometti’ 1929 & ‘ Diego’ by Giacometti 1955

The Artist’s brothers.

‘James Joyce' by Sava Botzaris
Marble version

‘George Bernard Shaw’ by Sava Botzaris Exhibited 1938
The artist here employed a different style of modeling again, with a definite ‘Victorian feel’ about it. Rather appropriate for the great writer, most definitely a true Victorian.
Sava Botzaris was born in Belgrade, lived in Italy and France before settling in London in 1920. In 1941 he emigrated to Venezuela.


Quote from Guadier-Brzeska: "Civilization begins with sculpture and ends with it".


    Email: stuart.williamson48@gmail.com

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