I am not sure that I had ever actually seen the portrait bust of Michael Jaffé by Elisabeth Frink, which shows him grizzled and, as indeed he was, in the guise of a Roman Emperor. It was turned down by the National Portrait Gallery, not, I think, anything to do with the quality of the bust, which is remarkable, but because Jaffé was one of those people who made enough enemies in his life probably to have been blackballed. A pity, not least, because the genre of the modern portrait bust is so seldom convincing.
2 thoughts on “Michael Jaffé (2)”
Interesting. The NPG has two perfectly respectable if unremarkable photographs of MJ by Antony Barrington Brown. So the box of inclusion has been ticked. And given that the NPG is interested primarily in the prominence of sitters rather than in artistic excellence, the decline of the Frink comes as no great surprise. But then again, if it had been someone by Frink a little more fitted to the cult of celebrity, they might have gone ahead with the acquisition. Funny old racket, museum curation!
It was before my time, but I remember being told about it. The vote would be documented in the trustee papers. Charles