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Thinking about Self-Portraits

1978 Charles Fager Born: Osage City, Kansas 1936 porcelain 12 x 10 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. (30.5 x 26.7 x 21.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Dr. James C. and Ann M. Ross 1981.28 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 53A

Luce Center Quote

"It is my expectation that this strange juxtaposition of photo-reflective images and ceramic objects will create a unique presence both confounding and revealing." Artist's statement

Luce Center Label

Charles Fager plays with the idea of self-portraits in this humorous piece. Made of cast porcelain, the sculpture is a bust of Fager. The larger, hinged face opens to reveal six miniature porcelain busts of the artist—a witty representation of the title. The piece also challenges us to consider our role in viewing the artwork. When the front of the sculpture is closed, the goggles provide a window to the portraits inside. Instead of seeing our own reflection as we might expect, we are faced with more images of the artist. Fager created the life-size cast of his head with alginate, a material commonly used to create dental molds. He then created successive molds that slowly shrank in size as the material dried.


Dress - accessory - eye wear

Figure male - head

decorative arts - ceramic

Crafts - Clay

ceramic - porcelain

About Charles Fager

Born: Osage City, Kansas 1936