Ivor Roberts-Jones

Paul Claudel

c.1955–7

Artist
Ivor Roberts-Jones 1916–1996
Medium
Bronze on wooden base
Dimensions
Object: 455 x 227 x 262 mm, 8.3 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1960
Reference
T00367

Not on display

Display caption

Roberts-Jones studied at Goldsmiths and the Royal Academy of Arts in the 1930s, and made his career as a portrait sculptor. He is best known for his sculpture of the hunched standing figure of Sir Winston Churchill. This portrait bust of the French poet and playwright Paul Claudel (1868-1955) was based on sketches made during the sitter’s lifetime, but was completed after his death. The decision to represent only the face may have been a deliberate reference to the tradition of death masks which are based on casts taken from the face of a corpse.

Ivor Rberts-Jones was born in Oswestry in 1916 and died in London in 1996.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T00367 PAUL CLAUDEL c. 1955–7

Not inscribed.
Bronze, 10 1/4 (26) high.
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1960.
Repr: The Times, 25 July 1960; Sir John Rothenstein, British Art since 1900, 1962, pl.128.

The sitter is Paul Claudel (1868–1955), the French poet, playwright and diplomat. His sister, Camille, had studied sculpture with Rodin.

The artist wrote (10 January 1961) that this work was based on drawings made during the sitter's lifetime, although the plaster was not completed until at least a year after Claudel's death. It was first exhibited in plaster at the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, in November 1957–January 1958 (54). The bronze cast was made in 1959 without any further reworking and is the first of a possible edition of five.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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