Self Portrait/Purple Head, 1933

Dora Gordine, Self Portrait/Purple Head, 1933, bronze
Dora Gordine, Self Portrait/Purple Head, 1930-32, bronze, 31 x 21 x 34 cm. Cast by Valsuani.

Gordine sculpted this self-portrait head in 1933 at her Johor Bahru studio in Malaya (now Malaysia); it was cast by Valsuani in Paris. She took an active role in all stages of the sculpture process, including the patination of the finished work. According to Maren Friedman, one of her sitters, “I know that achieving the particular colour of patina for each sculpture was crucial for Dora. She was very proud when the critics commented with high praises for her artistic skills in this area. She never stated what exactly determined her choice of a particular colour or finish for each piece, but I know that she took great care with each one. It was a crucial part of her art and craft.”  

This particular piece has an unusual purple hue and is the only one of her sculptures with this colouration. Despite the unique shade that distinguishes it from the rest of Gordine’s work, clearly a deliberate choice, this sculpture was not exhibited as a self-portrait, but was titled Purple Head when shown at the Leicester Galleries in November 1938, and later sold as Tete d’une Femme in the 1980s. 

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