Lincoln Life Mask - Section of life mask of Abraham Lincoln, cast from an original Caproni & Brother, Boston, Massachusetts . This section of plaster measures approximately 6 1/2' x 6 1/2", with base 10 3/4" tall overall. Lincoln masks tend to take on a life of their own, transcending their original purpose as a reference tool, and becoming a treasured artifact, capturing the pressures of war and office.
Pietro Paulo Caproni (1862 – 1928) was founder and co-owner of PP Caproni & Brother, Boston, Massachusetts, manufacturers of plaster reproductions of classical and contemporary statues. These 'cast' reproductions were, in an era before commercial photography, an integral educational tool in teaching people the history of art and antiquities.
Together with his brother, Emilio, the Caproni brothers supplied art schools, major universities and museums in the United States and abroad with quality reproductions. The firm operated under their ownership between 1892 and 1927, the year the company was sold and a year before Pietro's death.
Before World War II major United States museums had cast collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Although Caproni did not supply these museums with their casts, he did supply other museums with their casts, and they included:
the William J. Battle Collection at the University of Texas,
the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts,
the Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon.
University collections which the Caproni firm installed included those at Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Cornell University, and Emory University. Art schools such as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts used Caproni casts as models for their art students to draw from.
Additional installations of Caproni Casts were in leading hotels, theaters, and concert halls. The Loews theatre chains of the early 19th century featured Caproni casts, as did Symphony Hall, Boston and the atmospheric theaters designed by John Eberson.
Rising sculptors of the time sought the expertise of the Caproni studios when creating some of the country's best known civic sculpture. Among them was Cyrus Edwin Dallin, whose Appeal to the Great Spirit and Paul Revere, both of which are standing in Boston, were modelled in the Caproni studios' basement. Other known artists who worked with the Caproni Brothers include Daniel Chester French, Loredo Taft, and Leonard Craske which was made famous on TV commercials for 'Gordon's of Gloucester' fishsticks in the 1970s and 1980s. Caproni worked with these sculptors to model the original plasters before these major pieces went to a bronze foundry.
Inventory Number: POL 033