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. Although he also modelled Gertrude Stein (T03479 of 1938 is a later portrait of her by Lipchitz) these heads are for the most part of his friends and were not commissioned. Neither of the heads of Coco Chanel is of the quality of the best of these, such as the ‘Portrait of Raymond Radiguet’ (1920) which demonstrate more clearly that a precisely classical style interested Lipchitz least as much as the possibility of commissions.
[For T03397 and T03479 to T03534 the foundry inscriptions, and reproductions of casts in other materials in the books listed below, are recorded. Abbreviations used:
Arnason 1969 H.H. Arnason, Jacques Lipchitz: Sketches in Bronze, 1969
Lipchitz 1972 Jacques Lipchitz, My Life in Sculpture, 1972
Stott 1975 Deborah A. Stott, Jacques Lipchitz and Cubism, 1975 (reprinted 1978)
Otterlo 1977 A.M. Hammacher, Lipchitz in Otterlo, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, 1977
Centre Pompidou 1978 Nicole Barbier, Lipchitz: oeuvres de Jacques Lipchitz (1891–1973) dans les collections du Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, 1978
Arizona 1982 Jacques Lipchitz. Sketches and Models in the collection of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona. Introduction and catalogue by Peter Bermingham, 1982]
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986