LEDA (1891)


Bronze with nuanced brown patina, signed on its base « J. Desbois » and numbered «4».
Cast by A.A Hébrard, bears the founder’s stamp « CIRE / PERDUE / A.A. HÉBRARD ».
Height: 13.94″ x  Width: 20.75″x  Depth: 18.51″
Circa 1908-1933

Literature: Véronique WIESINGER, “Jules Desbois (1851-1935), sculpteur ou imitateur de Rodin?”, Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art français, Session of November 9, 1985, p. 315 to 330.



Jules Desbois was here inspired by the mythological story of Zeus being transformed into a swan to win the love of the beautiful Leda, princess of Sparta. In this composition, Desbois goes much further than many sculptors of his time by evoking not only the sensuality of bodies, but also the sexuality, as here where the swan and Leda become one in a carnal embrace. The marble (Height: 85 cm -Width: 108cm – Depth: 94 cm) was promptly purchased by the State in 1892 for the Musée du Luxembourg following its exhibition, a half scale plaster model, at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1891 (No 1310). Assigned to the Musée d’Orsay in 1986, it was deposited in 2001 at the Musée Jules Desbois (Inv. PR D.001.4.3. / RF 1153) The same museum also owns a bronze of Leda (Height:36 cm -Width:55 cm – Depth: 42 cm – Inv. PR2001.2.10) cast by Adolphe Gruet and createdbetween 1891 and 1896. A second cast campaign, to which our bronze belongs, was carried out with Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard, whose collaboration with Desbois does not seem to have started before 1903. Six casts of Leda were made between December 1908 and June 1933.

We would like to thank Mr Florian Stalder, Museum Curator, for the information he kindly provided us with.