I do believe this old snapshot is my favorite find of the week--another in which multiple dimensions of time and portraiture converge. The head pictured is a sculpture by Charles-Albert Despiau (French, 1874-1946), an assistant to Rodin in addition to a well recognized sculptor himself. There are several versions of this "Little Peasant Girl" --including a plaster model now in the collection of the Met, and a bronze (this one I believe) at least once owned by the French government. Here, I believe it was photographed in a pedestal with a glass vitrine over top, and--in addition to the wonderfully open face, captured straight on, and looking as if floating-- what really makes it for me are the two fingerprints (caught on the vitrine glass, I presume), captured in the image so clearly as to be readable as evidence. A momentary chance impression left on a surface, probably a hundred years ago or so, caught by chance in an image of something else, that happens to look a bit lot like a mug shot. Time, place, matter and its shadow, permanence and temporality, art and document, subject and object and another subject (and object) --for me this is many things at once and just excellent in holding them all together with great succinctness.
4 1/2" x 2 3/4" and in good condition.