In 1937, MAE WEST posed for a figure of herself in wax that was created by 16-year-old sculptress Katherine Marie Stubergh — — born in San Francisco, California on 23 June 1911.
• • Her mother Katherine Stubergh was an acclaimed artist, too.
• • The younger Stubergh trained as a dancer but found that her talents were in wax likenesses. "Mae West posed for her when Katherine was only 16," said Blake Kellogg, professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an amateur sculptor who studied under the Stuberghs. "The story goes that Mae West told her, 'Kid, anybody can make a piece of mud look like me shouldn’t be no dancer.’" He added that the younger Stubergh "was a master of wax figures, an artist of the first rank."
• • Katherine Marie Stubergh came from a long line of mannequin makers. At age 21 she abandoned a budding dance career to concentrate on sculpting. Most of her career was centered around Los Angeles where she did many busts of prominent people in the motion picture industry as well as bronze plaques. Her married name was Kelller at the time of her death in Honolulu on 14 May 1996.
• • Both the mother and daughter are in the news today because they once sculpted extraordinary life-size wax figures of Jesus Christ and his apostles patterned after Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper — — statues that have been, unfortunately, in a warehouse for 11 years.
• • When making the figures, the artists planted thousands of strands of human hair one by one into the head of each. Great attention was given to the hands, eyes, beards, as well as the facial expressions.
• • Interestingly, the backers of a new Christian art museum near the Fort Worth, Texas arts district are close to bringing these figures out of hiding soon — — perhaps by Christmas 2008.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •