Cast of Eubie Blake’s Hands

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Pianist and composer Eubie Blake (1883–1983) was one of the principal figures of the ragtime and early jazz revival of the 1970s. His longevity made him a storehouse of the history and culture of ragtime and early jazz. Phoebe Jacobs, a New York publicist for many musicians, introduced Blake to artist Bob Walker in 1981. Walker proposed a sculptural portrait in order to document some of Blake’s vitality and expressive character. Blake posed for Walker during four, three-hour sessions, all the while sharing stories about his life. Walker made two polyester resin castings. He retained the ceramic original and presented the other to Blake on his 99th birthday at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York. The life cast of Blake’s hands were made approximately two months before he died.