T03524 Portrait of Coco Chanel c.1921
Terracotta 12 × 8 × 8 1/4 (335 × 203 × 209)
Inscribed ‘J Lipchitz’ incised at rear of neck, and ‘77’ (twice) in black paint under neck.
Presented by the Lipchitz Foundation 1982
Lit: Lipchitz 1972, p.63
Another version of this head was apparently preferred by the sitter, who had commissioned it, since it was that version that was cast in bronze, and one of the casts belonged to her. This bronze differs from the Tate Gallery's terracotta chiefly in the more realistic treatment of the hair, which is brushed forward across the forehead.
Lipchitz remarks in his autobiography that he was not happy with the result of this commission, which was ‘too much of an official or commissioned portrait’ (loc.cit. The bronze version is reproduced). After leaving his dealer Léonce Rosenberg in 1920 Lipchitz looked for portrait commissions as a source of income…