Nora Iassigi, 1912

Bronze portrait bust

Fred’s classmate, “Miss Iassigi” had asked him to do a portrait of her in relief and now wanted a portrait bust instead. He began work on it March 30, continued on other days in April and May, finished it and took it to be cast May 17th at Torsky foundry. It was delivered on May 20, 1912.

He notes on April 29 that she “invited me to have 5 o’clock tea with her” and then on May 1 to a private viewing of Tarbell’s paintings. Edmund C. Tarbell was perhaps the most celebrated of the Boston School painters, so a private viewing while still a student would have been a privilege. Miss Iassigi was the connection for the Howe relief and the Dolphin commission. Like her friends, Miss Lawrence and Miss Deacon she, too, seems to have been well positioned socially.

Born in Swampscott and residing with her parents in Stockbridge, MA in a grand home designed by Guy Lowell, the architect for the Museum of Fine Arts and the New York County Courthouse, she travelled to Europe and the British Isles on at least two occasions. She studied sculpture with Bela Pratt at the Museum School from 1911-1913 and privately with Frederick Allen in 1913. (He notes in his diary that he made a key for her.)

She married a lawyer, nine years her senior, at age 31 and continued to live in Stockbridge in the beautiful Berkshire Hills before moving to Kentucky, her husband’s birthplace. The headline of news article about her in the Boston Sunday Post Sept 21, 1913 reads, “Now Milady of Society Turns Seriously to Art.”

Portrait relief commissioned Portrait bust made Bronze cast at Torsky’s Commission of $50 noted for her portrait Relief at the beginning of 1912; Bust made instead, started March 1912, cast in May 1912, paid Torsky $5.

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