Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935)
Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935)

'Mask of Marie Pierce'

Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935)
'Mask of Marie Pierce'
bronze with nickel-plate
6¾ in. (17.1 cm.) high on a marble base 2 in. (5.1 cm.) high
Modeled in 1925.
C.W. Kraushaar Galleries, New York, 1927.
Mr. and Mrs. William F. Laporte, Passaic, New Jersey, acquired from the above, 1927.
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 30 March 1944, lot 29.
Private collection, New Jersey, acquired from the above.
By descent to the present owner.
Newark Museum, Art in New Jersey Homes, exhibition catalogue, Newark, New Jersey, 1964, n.p. (as Mask).
D.B. Goodall, Gaston Lachaise: Sculptor, vol. II, Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1969, pp. 179-80, 456-57, pl. LXXXIV, illustrated (as Mask Portrait of Marie Pierce).
Newark, New Jersey, Newark Museum, Art in New Jersey Homes, October 15-November 29, 1964 (as Mask).

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Bridget Young
Bridget Young

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Lot Essay

Long interested in the motif of the Mask as a means to emphasize and intensify facial expression, Gaston Lachaise created four different types between 1925 and 1928, among them the hauntingly beautiful relief developed from a bust-length portrait of his wife's niece, Marie Pierce (1886-1957), that he had sculpted in 1921 (private collection; illustrated in Carolyn Kinder Carr and Margaret C. S. Christman, Gaston Lachaise, Portrait Sculpture, Washington, D. C.: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, in association with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1985, p. 66). According to Lachaise, seven 'Mask of Marie Pierce' were sold in 1925. At least some of these were coated with nickel, which produces a dramatic, silvery-white reflective surface. The present example is one of two nickel-plated casts delivered to the C. W. Kraushaar Galleries, New York, in early November of 1927, and it was sold exactly three weeks later. For unknown reasons, both of these casts bear an incorrect copyright date ground into the bronze very possibly by Lachaise himself. In addition to these two casts, six nickel-plated Masks of Marie Pierce have been located over the past three decades.

'Mask of Marie Pierce' has been given the number 122 by the Lachaise Foundation, Boston.

We are grateful to Virginia Budny for her assistance in preparing the catalogue entry for this work.

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