Richard Sevigny had a long fascination with skulls, which came from his interest in anatomy, but also from his interest in ghost stories and all things macabre. He also thought they were just plain funny.
He didn't just sketch, paint and carve skulls and skeletons. He decorated every house he ever lived in with them and his Halloween parties were legendary. I was told he once topped a Christmas tree with a skull but that may just be a rumor.
I don't when his interest in skulls began.
His closest cousin told me that he began drawing them after visiting a concentration camp during a trip to Germany when he was a young man.
I also have a letter he sent to his parents from New Orleans, where he spent at least a short amount of time painting portraits in St. Marks Square. In the letter, he informs his parents that he's just finished a painting of a grim reaper. He admits that it's a "strange" thing to paint but reassures them that "at least I've done it and it's out of my system now."
But this sculpture shows what Richard's friends all know. His fascination with skulls wasn't out of his system and never would be.