Technique and condition

The original clay master had a modelled and applied surface of small buttons of clay modelled, manipulated and shaped. The clay was scarred and undercut with modelling tools to create a jagged texture with an intentionally rough finish. Two small macquettes of this same theme were made in 1932 and a relief in 1933.

Most of Lipchitz’s plasters can be recognised as primary plasters, cast from moulds taken directly from the clay models. Some are cast from the plaster cast, made specifically for casting in bronze. In many cases the plasters retain evidence in their surface of gelatine mould residue and raised mould lines, either left, or reworked and smoothed after casting; or evidence of surface pointing marks used by stone carvers. Not all the primary plasters were translated into other mediums. Many plasters contain wood and wire armatures to support and strengthen the structures. These would have been secreted inside the negative gelatine mould before pouring the liquid plaster. In some plasters the corroding wires have stained brown or distorted the surface. In many cases they remain hidden and will only be revealed with a strong magnet or more accurately, under X-ray examination.

This cast of the bull and Condor was signed under the base when the clay was still wet leaving an incised inscription, J Lipchitz, and in blue paint the number 152. This cast is the only 1960’s plaster in the Tate collection that is signed in full.

Arnason 1969. rep. 82 (bronze); Lipchitz 1972, pp 127-8.
The Lipchitz Gift 1986. Tate pp15-17.

Sandra Deighton
February 2005