Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, Italian, 1866-1938
Title: George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Author, Playwright and Critic
Date: 1927
Medium: Bronze
188 cm
Signed: 1927 Paul Troubetzkoy Foundry Mark: Fonderia Faruffini & Co./Milano
Credit Line: Purchased, 1938
Object Number: NGI.8105
DescriptionShaw described how he took up his ‘platform pose as an orator’ when he gave ‘20 sittings, or rather standings’ for this portrait. He went to Troubetzkoy’s studio at Villa Cabianca on Lake Maggiore, where the plaster model survives, this being the only bronze cast made from it. It captures the combative nature of a sitter with an opinion on everything, whose moustache bristles as he contemplates a suitable repartee. Shaw claimed to have saved Troubetzkoy from despair over his wife’s death by agreeing to have this portrait done. Although photographed throughout his career and portrayed by many artists, including Auguste Rodin, John Lavery and Jacob Epstein, Shaw maintained that this was one of the finest images of himself and described Troubetzkoy as ‘the most astonishing sculptor of modern times’. He was only upset that it was not exhibited at the Gallery during his lifetime. He accepted the rule, which has since changed, that only portraits of deceased sitters were displayed. Troubetzkoy, the son of a Russian diplomat and self-taught, is often described as an ‘Impressionist’ due to his ability to suggest movement in bronze. He had made an earlier bust of Shaw in 1908, where the open coat makes for a more genial likeness.

March 2016
Exhibition HistoryJudging Shaw, Little Museum of Dublin, Dublin, 01 November 2017 - 07 January 2018