This, one of the best known of all death masks known as “L’Inconnue de la Seine” (or “the unknown woman of the Seine”) was allegedly cast from the face of an anonymous young woman fished out of the Seine in the 1880s. After being put on display at the Paris Morgue, where unclaimed bodies laid out for the purposes of identification had become a teeming tourist attraction, she captured the imagination of the public. L’Inconnue’s “Mona Lisa smile” and placid beauty captivated a generation of early twentieth-century bohemians, who hung copies of her death mask in their parlors.
Evan Michelson Collection
Exhibited in the Art of Mourning show at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, 2014-2015