inscribed G. LACHAISE and dated 1933 on the side of the neck
Edward M.M. Warburg, 1933-1992
Mary Warburg, until 2009
Philadelphia Art Alliance, "Gaston Lachaise: Architectural and Smaller Sculptures," 1933
New York, Museum of Modern Art, "Gaston Lachaise, Retrospective Exhibition," 1935, cat. p. 27, no. 52, figure 52, illustrated
New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Gaston Lachaise, 1882-1935, 1947, cat. p. 17, no. 33
The Los Angeles Museum of Art, Gaston Lachaise, 1882-1935: Sculpture and Drawings, 1963-1964, cat. no. 102, illustrated
Ithaca, New York, The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University; UCLA, Frederick S. Wight Galleries; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Gaston Lachaise, 1882-1935, 1974-1975
Washington, D. C., National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, "Gaston Lachaise, Portrait Sculpture," 1985–1986, pp. 18-19, 146-147, illustrated
Hartford, Connecticut, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 1990-2009
Gerald Nordland, Gaston Lachaise, The Man and His Work, New York, 1974, pp. 95-102, p. 181, nos. 17-18, figure 41
Edward M. M. Warburg, As I Recall: Some Memoirs, [n.p.], 1978, p. 51
Nicholas Fox Weber, Patron Saints: Five Rebels Who Opened America to a New Art, 1928–1943, New York, 1992, pp. 204-207
During a buying spree to help support Gaston Lachaise lasting from 1932 to 1934, Edward M.M. Warburg (1908-1992) acquired eleven of Lachaise's sculptures, including the present portrait, together with the plaster model and a bronze replica. When Warburg first considered commissioning a bust of himself, in December 1932, Lachaise dismissed the idea, since the twenty-four-year-old scion had not yet fully defined himself. Nonetheless, by February 9, 1933, Warburg had ordered a portrait, partly as an excuse to watch the artist at work, and on February 18, he began the first of some sixty-eight sittings for it. By March, Lachaise, fully engaged in developing the plasticine model, had decided that Warburg had "a really interesting head" (Lachaise to his wife Isabel Dutaud Nagle, March 19, 1933, Lachaise Papers, The Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library). He completed the model on May 1st, cast it in plaster on the following day, and revised it over a several-day period, confidently concluding: "it is the portrait of a young 'Emperor'" (Lachaise to his wife, May 10, 1933, ibid.). He then had it then cast in bronze for his patron. Meanwhile, by May 26, probably following Lachaise's suggestion, Warburg commissioned the present alabaster version. Lachaise carved the stone himself, tentatively completing it in October (when it was exhibited), and then reworked the right eye to his satisfaction in December. Complementing his view of the portrait, he mounted it on an appropriate 'Roman' base.
The Lachaise Foundation has given the number 102 to this portrait. The plaster model is owned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
We are grateful to Virginia Budny for her assistance in preparing the catalogue entry for this work.
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