Tuesday, June 11, 2013
"To Take a Scalp" by Bob Scriver
These photos were kindly sent to me by Adam R. Brice. The bronze is part of his own collection.
I see that the piece has the "real" Scriver patina, which is a deep green with variations in it. We learned to patine like that by imitating the French Animaliers. In fact, Bob bought a Barye bronze of a big cat taking down a gazelle so we could study it. The animaliers and Rodin were the early developers of the art of bronze casting in Paris when the fashion moved away from Italian marble -- all those white statues.
I wasn't with Bob when he made this piece, but he talked about it. There was contention among the old timers about which one of them was the last to take a scalp. Both or maybe three claimed that as teenagers they accompanied war parties and took a scalp, but were so repelled by it that they never did it again. The problem with such boasts is that it puts the guy on the line between being a potent warrior and being a law-breaker who would be punished by whites or at least a savage. Bob tried to imagine what it would really be like and this piece resulted. He did have a few real scalps in his artifact collection, but was hazy (strategically) about where they came from.