Richard Edelman


3' x 2' x 1.5'

My first portrait of Picasso grew out of my Welding Mask Series. But I found building a caricature based on the boxy form of a welding mask inadequate to my purpose.  I wanted to introduce cubist elements out of deference to the master and struck on the idea of  equilateral and 30/60/90 triangles to build the face. These elements blocked any view of the underlying welding mask wire box, and the surface emerged as the key element.  I wanted to use industrial machine parts for the eyes to bring out the piercing and empty stare seen in some of the photographic portraits. Finally, I placed the head under a Picasso jester's cap. For this purpose I used the same triangles introduced in the  skull, but deformed them with heat and hammer to suggest the drooping hat. I chose to elongate the master's face because the rounder shape originally rendered did not evoke the force of Picasso as character. This steel piece is mounted on a transmission gear which extends through the neck into the interior of the skull...the man was driven. The steel was selectively polished and ground, and several coats of polyurethane was applied. Some report seeing the TIN MAN in this piece.


After living with the steel vision for a year or so, I began one morning to apply clay to the surface, rounding out the mouth and nose. I spent no more than an hour. I cast the new vision in bronze. I'm not sure which rendering I prefer. Cubist elements are stronger in the original steel, but I think the bronze makes the better mask. I am considering a new approach in stainless.