Bronze Bust of George Bernard Shaw by Sava Botzaris (1894-1965)

Signed: ‘Sava Bótzaris’ (on the neck)

Bronze with a dark brown patina, standing on an ebonised wood base.  Cast in an edition of 8.

Conceived in 1938, the present work depicts George Bernard Shaw, the renowned Irish playwright and political activist.  Cast by the Fine Art Society in an edition of eight, the original bronze was exhibited at the Leicester Galleries in 1938, alongside other famous literary and political figures by Bótzaris, including Aldous Huxley and Haile Selassie.

The son of the court painter to Peter I of Serbia, Bótzaris trained with his father, before travelling to Naples, Rome and significantly Paris, where he studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts.  He later settled in London, in 1920 where he built a very successful career as a sculptor.

This sculpture is accompanied by a framed letter from Bernard Shaw to Bótzaris illustrating the former’s wry sense of humour:

‘My dear Sava,

            Ever since H.G. Wells complained that it was impossible to move in Europe without being confronted at every turn by an effigy of me I have realised that there are enough portraits of me in the world. You are the only distinguished sculptor of my time who can boast that he has NOT made a bust of G.B.S.

            Think of all those who have: Rodin, Troubetskoy, Davidson, Sigmund Strobl, Epstein and others of whom you have never heard! Is it not enough? 

            However, if you must you must; but this must positively be the last, as I am getting too old to be presentable. I shrink from another portrait as Goethe shrank from being drawn by Maclise after seeing his picture of Samuel Rogers.’

 

Height: 27” (69cm).  Height excluding wooden base: 20.5” (52cm).  Width:13” (33cm).  Depth: 10.75” (27.5cm)

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