fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Anna Coleman Ladd
La Biennale di Venezia

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Anna Coleman Ladd

1878 – 1939, USA


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 25/09
    11 AM - 8 PM

    TUE - SUN
    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

When Anna Coleman Ladd returned in 1917 to Paris, where she had grown up in the late 19th century, France had been devastated by World War I. Coleman Ladd, who was well known in American circles as a Neoclassical sculptor, enlisted as a Red Cross volunteer. In Paris, she saw the urgency of providing care to veterans who were returning from the front with injuries, amputations, and permanent disabilities, and were often seriously disfigured. Having heard of a London workshop that was creating facial prostheses for British soldiers, Coleman Ladd persuaded the Red Cross to set up a similar department in France, ultimately producing about a hundred  masks for veterans – an astonishing number, considering that each was made by hand and took about a month’s work. An initial plaster cast based on pre-war photos was used to make a latex and copper or silver mask, which was painted with oils, in several sittings. The studio also provided psychological counselling to the men: often treated as monsters, they had to grapple with the sudden loss of the status they held before the war. In contrast to the bizarre and provocative uses that avant-garde artists invented for them at the time, Coleman Ladd employed masks as a precious tool, showing that science and art could collaborate with a shared objective. 

Stefano Mudu


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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte