Death Mask of James Joyce | Le masque de la mort de James Joyce
1,000 - 1,500 EUR
Death Mask of James Joyce
height (of mask): 25.5cm.; 10in.
Le masque de la mort de James Joyce
height (of mask): 25.5cm.; 10in.
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The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
Victor McCaughan, by whom presented to the Ulster Arts Club
Ulster Arts Club, Charity Fundraiser Sale, circa 2002
Garrett O'Connor, where acquired by the present owner circa 2006
Victor McCaughan, par qui présenté à l'Ulster Arts Club
Ulster Arts Club, vente de charité, vers 2002
Garrett O'Connor, acquise par le propriétaire actuel vers 2006
On the day of James Joyce’s death in Zurich, 13 January 1941, his wife Nora gave consent to have a death mask made. Local artist Paul Speck was commissioned by the Joyce’s friend, art historian Carola Giedeon-Welcker, and produced two plaster negatives of Joyce’s visage, either late on the 13 January or the following day.
Both original plaster masks were presented by Speck to Giedeon-Welcker who retained the pair until the late 1950s. A third plaster mask by Speck, however, was made contemporaneously and quite possibly without Nora's or Gideon-Welcker's knowledge. It remains unknown whether this third version was taken directly from Joyce’s visage or if he used one of the two originals as a mould to produce a third.
Of these three, one is at the James Joyce Foundation in Zurich; one in the Joyce Tower Museum in Dublin and the other in the US Library of Congress (gifted in 1946 by Rudolp Brauchbar, son of Edmund Brauchbar, a former pupil of Joyce’s in Zurich).
The next chapter in Joyce’s death mask becomes somewhat convulted. Up to six additional plaster masks were apparently made by Swiss sculptor Victor Dallo under the direction of Paul Speck. When these castings were made is unknown, but it is reasonable to suggest that they were completed in the early to mid-1950s. These six plaster masks are identical to Speck's original. The location of three of these masks can be identified to the Universities of Basle and Lausanne and the Zentralbibliothek in Zurich. The present example is likely one of the remaining versions made by Speck, and presented to the Ulster Art Club by Victor McCaughan, and later acquired by the present owner.