Thinking about Self-Portraits

Copied Charles Fager, Thinking about Self-Portraits, 1978, porcelain, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Dr. James C. and Ann M. Ross, 1981.28

Artwork Details

Thinking about Self-Portraits
1210 128 12 in. (30.526.721.6 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James C. and Ann M. Ross
Mediums Description
  • Dress — accessory — eye wear
  • Figure male — head
Object Number

Artwork Description

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.

Luce Object 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