Collection 1880s–1940s

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Pablo Picasso. Head of a Warrior. Boisgeloup, 1933 574

Plaster, metal, and wood, 47 1/2 x 9 3/4 x 27" (120.7 x 24.9 x 68.8 cm). Gift of Jacqueline Picasso in honor of the Museum's continuous commitment to Pablo Picasso's art. © 2024 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Artist, Bernadette Daroux: My name is Bernadette Daroux. I’m an artist.  I work with mostly clay and I've done a lot of work with plaster. Plaster is a natural material that comes from the earth. It’s the finest white dust you can ever imagine. People have been using it for thousands of years.

All you need to work with plaster is a bucket and water. You slowly start sprinkling in the plaster. You mix it up with your hands or with a drill attachment. That’s when it has a chemical reaction and starts to heat up and get a little thicker. You can start working with it as soon as it starts to thicken.

For 3D works, it’s often that first step, the prototype of the final product, because plaster is so cheap and easy to use. But it can just be used in so many different ways. It can act as a glue. It can act as a paint. It can be used for making molds and casts. It can be the internal skeleton of something. Or it can be the finished material.

I have a love-hate relationship with it. It really dries out your hands and the dust gets everywhere. But it’s so functional. I think of plaster as the workhorse material of sculpture, because It’s durable, it’s cheap, and it can do so many different things.