Friday, October 10, 2008
STUDY FOR THE HEAD OF CHRIST by BOB SCRIVER
This bust was made as a study for the small corpus Bob was commissioned to make a year before his daughter died, 1965, and which became connected with that loss.
The model is Maurice Chaillot, brother to Bob’s second wife, Jeanette Caouette whom he married in Edmonton just at the end of WWII. Maurice was much younger, a “surprise” baby late in his mother’s life. Highly educated at a Jesuit boarding school, he was a professor of French for many years and is now retired to a small Canadian paradise with an historic log cabin. He is himself a fine painter and photographer.
This portrait is “romantic” in style. Marks of Bob’s fingers are dominant rather than tool marks or the absence of any marks. This is almost impressionistic. It is classical in the sense that most classical busts have no draperies or embellishments, and yet it is romantic in its asymmetry and emotion. Mrs. John Walters, who commissioned the small corpus but not the bust, specifically wanted Jesus to be still alive, looking to the heavens and crying out, “Father, Father, why hast thou forsaken me.”
Bob also made a bust of Maurice in a more formal style, portraying him as himself, still without collar or drapery but in a more detailed and serene sort of way. Maurice was given a copy of this bust, but kept in the custody of his sister, it was sold by mistake while she was in the hospital. Someone in the LA area owns a remarkable portrait by Bob Scriver. It was unfinished: white plaster.
So far as I knew, few of either busts were ever sold to customers and only one of each was cast in bronze. But then Carroll College disclosed that they had a casting of the rough study. The Montana Historical Society ought to have both castings.