Le Sphinx

Boleslas Biegas
Le Sphinx
relief en plâtre
H. 46,0 ; L. 39,0 ; P. 11,0 cm.
Achat, 1987
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Boleslas Biegas (1877 - 1954)
Artwork not currently exhibited in the museum

The Polish sculptor Boleslas Biegas settled in Paris where he exhibited bizarre sculptures which were highly successful in the opening years of the 20th century. They were often busts with philosophical or esoteric titles.
The Sphinx is presented as a bust, but parts of the statue are flattened as in a low relief. The forehead bulges excessively while the clasped hands are barely drawn.
The sculptor's techniques were very modern for the time. For example, the cheeks are hollow rather than rounded. The face looks abnormal, deformed, as if it were not a human being but some fantastic creature. Its searching eyes and tight-pressed lips suggest a spectre. The white colour of the plaster reinforces the effect. The title refers to Greek mythology: the sphinx asked men impossible riddles and immediately devoured anyone unable to answer them.

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