Raymond Duchamp-Villon (Pierre-Maurice-Raymond Duchamp), French, 1876 - 1918
Raymond Duchamp-Villon made numerous versions of this bust of the influential French poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). The figure's blank eyes suggest the writer's visionary imagination, while the large, bulbous cranium references his enormous intellectual capacity. His brother Jacques Villon kept this plaster sculpture in his studio long after Raymond's death in 1918. The severe geometric composition must have evoked fond memories of the many discussions it inspired among the Salon Cubists after the work was completed. Villon later recalled, "I remember that about 1911 we sometimes used to say . . . that if Baudelaire's bust were to explode, it would do so along certain lines of force."