Wikipedia entry for Gustav Mahler
GUSTAV MAHLER.–”The immediate sensation created by the mask is one of astonishment at the expression of a powerful will still stamped upon the dead face (the mouth). Only gradually do we come to feel the fascination of a singularly honest and lucid brow, and to appreciate the rugged modeling of the nose. Since the eyes are forever closed, we can discern little of the lofty human kindliness or the fun which were such essential traits of Mahler’s character. In profile there is a remarkable likeness to Josef Haydn’s death mask; compare Plate <36>.”
“Gustav Mahler was born in Kalischt near Iglau, in what was formerly German Bohemia, on July 7, 1860; he was the son of a moderately prosperous Jewish merchant family. At fifteen he entered the Vienna Conservatoire and became a pupil of Epstein; his talent and his performance left no room for doubt, even then, that music for him was not merely a profession but a vocation. During years of unsettled wandering he went to Hall (in Upper Austria), Laibach, Olmutz, Cassel, and finally to Prague (1885), where he made his first appearance, under Angelo Neumann, as a conductor of opera and of concerts before a large public. After a brief and successful engagement in Leipzig, he secured an independent post as chief producer of opera in Budapest. Between 1891 and 1897 he celebrated his great triumphs in the Hamburg municipal theatre under Pollini. This led finally to his engagement at the Viennese court opera house, which he graced till 1907. Misunderstandings and lack of appreciation drove him to America that year; there he conducted as a guest during the brief span of life that still remained to him, but returned from time to time to his native Germany for work and recuperation. He broke down in New York in consequence of treacherous heart trouble, and was taken through Paris to Vienna, where he died in a sanatorium on May 18, 1911. That same day his friend, the painter Kari Moll, took the death mask; casts are in the possession of the master’s widow, Mrs. Alma Maria Mahler, and of Professor Moll.”
Photos and quotations from: Benkard, Ernst, & Green, Margaret (1927). Undying Faces, A Collection of Death Masks. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.