10th September 2022Collector's month - September 20th 2022
FOUR EMBLEMATIC WORKS BY AUGUSTE RODIN. On the occasion of the Carré Rive Gauche’s Collector’s month, the Nicolas Bourriaud gallery will be displaying four bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin, The Bronze Age, The Kiss, The Eternal Spring, The Left Hand known as n° 35. Four masterpieces which will no doubt seduce the collector’s soul. The Bronze Age. Considered the first great manifest sculpture of Auguste Rodin, it represents the culmination of a long period of training, intense research and effort. The Kiss. The master wanted ‘natural’ action as if it were taken from life. Rodin chose to represent the two lovers at the moment they become aware of their feelings in a tender and carnal embrace. The Eternal Spring. Like the Kiss of which it is a kind of variant, its subject matter evokes the bliss of two young lovers. It was probably inspired by the ten years of passionate and tormented relationship between the master and his student lover, Camille Claudel. The Left Hand, known as n° 35. Without any attributes, the hands find their deep expressiveness in the interplay of fingers, palms and wrists animating the space between them.
7th July 2022Sold at TEFAF MAASTRICHT 2022
RODIN Auguste (1840 -1917) At a very young age, Auguste Rodin imposed his artistic vocation on his father and entered at the age of 14 the École Impériale Spéciale de Dessin et de Mathématiques, known as the "Petite École". Rodin was first a craftsman before becoming an artist; rejected three times in a row at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, he became a mason and worked as a statuary, roughing out marble and stones, and making jewellery ornaments for a goldsmith. In 1864, he met Rose Beuret who gave him a son, Auguste, and shared his life until her death. After the 1870 war, he left for Belgium to work for Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887), and contributed to the decoration of buildings in Brussels such as the Palais des Académies. His discovery of Michelangelo's tombs in the sacristy of San Lorenzo in Florence in 1876 had a definitive influence on his work. L'âge d'Airain (1877) bears witness to this, despite the controversy that arose when it was presented in Brussels and at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris: the accusation that he had cast a live model, which was later refuted, drew attention to the exceptional quality of the model. The 1880s marked the beginning of a prolific production in which the sculptor glorified voluptuousness, sensuality, strength, pain and passion. Among these, The Gate of Hell (1880-1900), The Kiss (around 1882), the monuments dedicated to the Burghers of Calais (1889), to Victor Hugo (1889-1897,1901), and to Balzac (1898). During these years, the artist met Camille Claudel (1864-1943), who was in turn his pupil, his model, his mistress and his muse. Their final break-up took place around 1893. From 1890 onwards, he enjoyed international success. At that time, he was running three workshops. After collecting quite a few romantic conquests, Rodin was later under the thumb and influence of the Duchess of Choiseul and he travelled around the world with his exhibitions: Cologne, Dresden, Prague, London.... He became friends with many of the world's leading artists: painters (Monet, Whistler, Legros), dancers (Isadora Duncan, Loïe Fuller, Hanako, Nijinsky), writers (Rilke, Zola), and sculptors who, for some of them, had once been his students (Boucher, Desbois, Bourdelle, Pompon). At the age of 60 (in 1900), Rodin organised a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Pavillon de l'Alma, on the fringes of the Exposition Universelle. The sculptor thus wanted to display his work in its broad scope. At the age of 76, he became seriously ill. He then made three donations of his collections to the French state with the aim of setting up a Rodin Museum. Rodin gave a new impetus to sculpture, which he regarded as frozen in academicism, by delivering a synthesis of its fundamentals: Greek art, Romanesque art, architecture of cathedrals, nature, Donatello and Michelangelo - the art of modelling, the play of light and shade, the real truth of the figures, far from any idealisation, the exaltation of bodies and flesh, the metaphysical torment. Considered one of the fathers of modern sculpture, he produced around 7,000 sculptures, 10,000 drawings and 10,000 photographs. Alsatian orphan, head held high version Terracotta proof covered with ochre slip, signed and dated 'Rodin / 1870' on the back. Height: 11" (28 cm) Length: 8,2" (21 cm) Depth: 7,5" (19.3 cm) excluding base - Total height including plinth: 14" (36 cm). Circa 1870 Provenance: Collection Arthur Noël, Paris (acquired from the artist by familial tradition, at the price of 200 Francs between September 1870 and January 1871). Handed down by descendants. Bibliographical references: C. Goldscheider, Rodin Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre sculpté, t. 1. 1840-1886, Wildenstein Institute, Paris 1989, models in plaster and terracotta referenced under the number 35 ; F. Leseur 'Rodin et Bruxelles, chronique d’une longue amitié', dir. R. Hooze, exhibition catalogue -Bruxelles, palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles carrefour des cultures, 8 September-5 November 2000, page 110. A notice of insertion in the catalogue 'Critique de l'œuvre sculpté d'Auguste Rodin', currently under preparation at the Brame & Lorenceau gallery, under the direction of Jérôme Le Blay, and dated February 10, 2022, will be handed over to the purchaser. The 'Alsatian orphan', sometimes mentioned as the 'Little Alsation Girl' or 'Young Alsatian girl', was exhibited for the first time in 1871 in Brussels, that is shortly after Rodin's arrival in Belgium. The six years of his youth he spent criss-crossing Flanders, with Rose Beuret, so as to study the country's art or copy its great masters, was a turning point in the artist's career. Becoming famous, Rodin looked back on these times as 'the most wonderful and happiest moments of their life'. Among the thirty or so artworks displayed in fifteen exhibitions, this sculpture was the most successful. The first to have been accepted by a jury (in Gand, 1871), it was to be presented several times in various materials (marble, plaster and terracotta). Some differences can be seen in the position of the head, more or less buried in the drape of the coat that covers the shoulders, the ornaments of the bow, the sides bordered by a fringe. This representation of a doll-like and melancholic child appealed to the public all the more because its title made it part of the imagery recently born of France losing its eastern provinces. The Alsatian headdress of the bust pays tribute to these annexed provinces. The critics were full of praise: 'a delightful little Alsatian' (Gazette de Bruxelles), 'made from very little, like a pencil sketch, and which many poor devils envy to Charles Buls who acquired it' (La chronique), 'exquisite in its naivety and grace with its large silk bow placed on the forehead like a butterfly spreading its wings' (L'Écho). In a word, 'it is naivety in grace. The ravishing head of a little girl! ' (Exhibited in February 1883, in the salons of 'l'Art', place de l'Opéra, on the occasion of the tombola for the flooded people of Alsace-Lorraine, the 'Alsacian Orphan' stood out, described as 'a pretty marble dream' (Jacques de Biez). Note the difference between the plaster casts and terracotta versions with the head held high and the marble ones in which the head has been tilted over the shoulder, which increases the sorrowful aspect of the figure. The reference marble is in the Rodin Museum (Height: 15,1" 38.5 cm). It was offered in 1878 by the sculptor to his faithful doctor and friend, Dr Vivier, to thank him for taking care of Rose Beuret. Among the terracotta models, let us mention the 'Alsatian Orphan', version with bent head, terracotta covered with an ochre slip, which formerly belonged to the Taxile Doat collection (1851-1939), sold in 1982; our terracotta is known from family tradition and can be dated between September 1870 and January 1871, when Auguste Rodin was mobilised and working on the fortifications of the city of Paris under siege by the Prussian forces. It has remained in the same family since its acquisition by the great-grandfather of the previous owner 'a few weeks after the summer of 1870'; its reappearance on the market is in itself a real discovery. It should be noted that several terracotta models were shown at various exhibitions from 1871 to 1882. Our model stands out by a very detailed treatment of the back of the headdress, represented in several loops of the headdress ornamented by small fringes, most of the others, in plaster and terracotta, presenting only a smooth back without details. Several plaster copies are also known, one being held by the Rodin Museum (Inv. MR S.821 - Rodin donation, 1916), a plaster with a terracotta patina kept in the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (Inv. 1992-2 - Acquired in 1992), another in the Stanford University Art Gallery and Museum (Inv. 1986.187). Beyond its patriotic significance, the figure attracts by its childlike sweetness and melancholy. The typical Alsatian headdress, usually recognisable by its rigid knot-like shape, has here been judiciously softened so as to allow this beautiful child's face to breathe (perhaps, as sometimes evoked but not confirmed, that of a young child seen in 1863 by Rodin in a procession at Strasbourg). Considered one of the sculptor's first great successes, the 'Alsatian Orphan' is a touching testimony to the beginnings of his art.  There are three more copies in marble: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Reims, Bequest of Henry Vasnier in 1907 ;Paris, Fondation des Artistes, Bequest of Adèle Rothschild in 1922 ; Musée Soumaya, Mexico (cat 100).  21871, Gand, Salon, n° 1564 Orpheline Alsacienne; 1874, Cercle Artistique & littéraire de Bruxelles, n° 123 Alsacienneterracotta sold through the Cercle Artistique to Charles Buls, future Mayor of Brussels; 1876, Philadelphia, n° 200 Alsacian Woman Exposition internationale et universelle, Centenaire de l'Indépendance; 1881, Société des Amis des Arts de l'Ain, n° 224 L'Orpheline Alsacienne; 1882, City of Niort Exposition des Beaux-Arts, n° 785 bis Orpheline Alsacienne ; 1882, City of Rouen catalogue of the twenty-eighth municipal exhibition of Fine Arts, n° 1125 Tête d'Alsacienne, n° 1126 Enfant orpheline.
7th July 2022An extremely rare sculpture by Antoine-Louis BARYE
Antoine-Louis BARYE (1795-1875) Angélique and Roger mounted on the hippogriff (1st version, mouth open) Brown patina bronze model signed and bearing the mark “BARYE”, numbered “3”. Atelier Barye cast. Height: 20” ((51 cm) Length: 26” (67 cm) Depth: 12” (30 cm). Circa 1845. Provenance: formerly from the Diéterle family collection. Bibliography: P. Kjellberg, Les bronzes du XIXe siècle, Tours, 1996, p.58, model reproduced on p.62; M. Poletti et A. Richarme, Barye catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Vérone, 2000, p.92, model referenced under the n° F22, reproduced p. 93, n° 41; W. Johnston et S. Kelly, Untamed: The art of Antoine-Louis Barye, 2006, Prestel, Singapore, 2006, model mentioned on p. 130. • Bibliographical references: G. Planche, Portraits d’artistes. Peintres et sculpteurs, ‘M. Barye’, Paris, 1853, volume 2, p.167 to 169; R. Ballu, L’œuvre de Barye, Paris, 1890, p. 79 and 80; C. Saunier, Barye,Paris, 1925, model referred to on p. 29 and p. 30; G.F. Benge, Antoine-Louis Barye. Sculptor of romantic realism, Pennsylvania, 1984, p. 96 and p.97. Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875) left an indelible imprint on the history of French sculpture. Son of a goldsmith, he studied alongside the greatest French masters of this art (Biennais, Fauconnier) and was introduced to modelling by the sculptor Bosio and to drawing by the painter Gros. He also attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris. From his initial training the artist kept a special attention to fine details and precision. At that time he already spent quite a lot of time at the Jardin des Plantes to draw animals 'ad vivum'. With an unquestionable scientific rigour, he there studied furs, movements, muscle structures and went as far as to attend animal dissection sessions. It is with his Tiger devouring a garial, exhibited at the 1831 Salon that Barye made his mark as a sculptor. His consecration yet came at the 1833 Salon with the famous Lion and Serpent a monumental sculpture in bronze commissioned by the king. From there on he benefited from the protection of the royal family, as shown by the commission of an imposing table centre-piece from Philippe d'Orléans (1834-1839). Despite this, a few of the artist's works presented at the 1837 Salon were rejected, as a result of which Barye did not display a single sculpture until the 1850 Salon. Throughout that period, orders were nonetheless pouring in from prestigious art collectors for whom Antoine-Louis Barye created some of his most remarkable ornamental bronze models, which demonstrate his outstanding talent for decorating, both powerful and inventive. In the meantime, the artist, highly concerned with the finest quality of his bronzes, set up his own foundry, dealing with both the carving and the commercialization of his artworks until he associated with the manufacturer Emile Martin. This collaboration lasted until 1857 when Barye took over control of his artwork's production, in his studio, which brought together sculptors, chiselers and patina artists, and this until his death in 1875. Once again recognized, he received the Grande Médaille d'honneur, at the 1855 Exposition Universelle and in that of 1867, the Grande Médaille d'Or. He was elected at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1868 by unanimity of the votes cast. In 1874, the last catalogue of his bronzes was published at 4 quai des Célestins, Paris. Angélique and Roger mounted on the hippogriff (1st version, mouth open) Antoine-Louis Barye's masterpiece, of a prestigious provenance and of which only three copies currently exist, is an outstanding artwork. The centrepiece of a mantelpiece, it originally had two candelabras. According to Barye's biographers, the model was commissioned around 1840 by the Duc de Montpensier to compete with the magnificent table centrepiece that Barye created for his brother the Duc d'Orléans (partly held in Baltimore, Walters Art Museum). Beyond its dimensions, the artist, who would have been given complete freedom of design, chose to illustrate a line from a chivalry's tale most prevalent at this time, from Ludovico Ariosto's "Rolando Furioso" (Canto X), written in the early 16th century and recently translated into French. The story takes place in the time of Charlemagne and tells the adventures of a beautiful Indian princess brought to France by the knight Roland who eventually escaped her suitors before being unfortunately captured to be fed to a killer whale, a sea monster. The knight Roger, riding his fantastic animal, the hippogriff, then freed her from the rock to which she was chained before she once again escaped to finally find love with Medor, a wounded saracen prince. This eminently romantic theme (the exaltation of heroic love, the fantastic animal, the knightly epic, the historical context...) was often dealt with during the first half of the 19th century (Delacroix, Doré, Ingres...). However unlike the latter, who depict Roger plunging his lance into the monster's mouth to free Angelique, tied to a rock, Barye chose to capture the moment when Angelique is out of danger, mounted on the hippogriff taking wingabove the waves and firmly held by Roger. Such a romantic impulse remains unique in Barye's work.The model was edited in two versions, probably contemporary. The differences lie mainly in the position of the hippogriff's mane and tail and especially its mouth, open in the first version and closed in the second. If the model in both versions is rare in period cast iron, it is particularly so in the 1st version (open mouth), ours, of which merely three copies exist, all numbered and stamped 'Barye'. The number '1', identified as belonging to the Cohen Gallery in New York, has a slightly different plinth as it incorporates a pendulum cylinder. The number '2' was held in a British collection, Sladmore Gallery, while the number '3', ours, came directly from the collection of the Diéterle family, a dynasty of artists, art collectors and merchants, with whom Barye bound a friendly relationship early on. In fact it is at the Jardin des Plantes that the friendship between Barye and the Diéterle family began as it was there that the artist met Charles Diéterle, a pupil of Corot, to whom Barye gave advice on painting animals. Little by little the family built up a collection of Barye's works, of which our sculpture remained a part of until today. As for the numbered copy 4, currently kept at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (10.133.1), it already belongs to the second version as presenting a closed mouth. It thus seem possible to attest that there were no more than three copies of the first version, which makes our sculpture a truly exceptional artwork.In addition to its rarity, this piece is also remarkable for the originality of its composition as for the perfection of its workmanship. From its inception, the 1844 Barye catalogue presents it as 'a splendid and truly artistic mantelpiece'. The model is described by some contemporaries as 'one of the most ingenious inventions of modern art' (see Gustave Planche, op. cit. above, on p.167). The formal invention shows a great erudition translated by the eye of a nature lover. The composition induces in the viewer the dynamic feeling of flight and frantic running thanks to the hippogriff presented with legs extended and behind, wings half spread, head stretched out in front. It is even more impressive in the first version with its open mouth, erect mane and plume-like tail. Associated with this sense of movement is the strength with which Roger holds Angelique, whose unstable position accentuates the ardour of the moment. The power of the whole is softened by the graceful, supple line of Angelique's body, which is echoed by the undulating tail of the sea creature below the hippogriff, which serves as a base for the group, resulting in a piece that is dynamic, powerful and elegant.The striking appearance of the composition and meticulous workmanship, thanks to the particularly fine chiselling, Barye's initial training, brings the sculpture to life. Barye plays on the opposition of materials: the fine work on the horse's coat creates a play of shadows, further accentuated by the patina, which contrasts with the smooth aspect of Angelique's skin, on which, on the contrary, the light glides. The sculptor pays particular attention to details such as Roger's armour (decoration of the helmet surmounted by a chimera, riveted breastplate, spurs....) or the description of the hippogriff. The fantastic creature is designed in a totally realistic manner from various animals that have been very finely and accurately observed. It has a horse's body with front legs ending in a bird of prey's claws, an eagle's beak, and parrot's wings, which are faithfully rendered and attached to the animal's body with the utmost verisimilitude. On the terrace, animated by an octopus among a few waves, stands the sea monster with a snake's tail and a dolphin's head, which seems to have been inspired by the Count of Caylus's collections of antiquities (see Benge, op. cit. above, fig. No 235) or by certain decorative elements of the Italian Renaissance. Imagination is so admirably combined with scientific rigour that it becomes real... Everything in this sculpture points to its excellence of which Barye was fully aware of, as from the outset he asked a much higher price for this artwork than the for others in his catalogue.
31st May 2022TEFAF 25-30 JUIN 2022
I am most honoured to be taking part in the 2022 TEFAF Maastricht Showcase. For my team as for myself, this is a great first! I have a passion for the 19th and 20th century sculpture since my teenage years and happily began my career at an early age, in 2010, at the Louvre des Antiquaires. This fruitful experience allowed me to open my first gallery in 2015 at 205, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré close to the Champs-Elysées. In 2020, I set up a second gallery, located on the left bank of the Seine, at 1 quai Voltaire, opposite the Louvre.These two exceptional locations gave me the opportunity to develop my collection of sculptures from different angles, which were constantly renewed. Up to now, we have held no less than thirteen exhibitions, including 'Antoine-Louis Barye', 'Rodin's influence on sculpture', 'Groupe des Douze', 'Guyot', etc. All figurative and animal sculptures that have been presented were selected with an utmost rigour for their aesthetic as well as their technical qualities. It is this pursuit for excellence that I wish to share with you today, in the prestigious setting of our stand. The place of honour being given to an emblematic masterpiece of Romantic sculpture, an absolute rarity: Angélique and Roger, mounted on the Hippogriff (first version, mouth open) by Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875), which was edited in three copies only. The sculptor who masterfully succeeded in rendering this fiery impetus into bronze here demonstrates a marvellous sense of movement. All the ingredients of Romanticism can be seen: the fabulous creature, passion for love, struggle against the elements, rereading of ancient texts... From the same Romantic period, let us mention The Three Graces by James Pradier (1790-1852), a delicate statuette which represents, in an exceptional quality of casting, the goddesses of beauty, naked, standing, displaying an unvarnished eroticism and a great sensuality. Another masterpiece by a great master in the early days of his art is the Alsatian Orphan, head held high version by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), one of the sculptor's first great successes. The terracotta figure is outstanding by the childlike sweetness and melancholy it exudes. The Chinese (sketch) by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875),edited during his lifetime is a strikingly modern work of art. As regards animal sculpture, we cannot overlook one of its most prestigious artists, Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916), who is magnificently represented here with two bronzes, Flamingo in movement and Little Panther, both lost wax cast by Albino Palazzolo of the A.-A. Hébrard foundry. Two beautiful examples of the nervous and elegant style of the sculptor who liked to capture animals from life and in different poses. The Flamingo in movement, numbered A1, is one out of only 18 copies inventoried at this day. Equally rare, but in a different and later style, is the Chimpanzee by Auguste Nicolas Trémont (1892-1980), which stands out for its dynamic power. Only two original bronze models are known to date: the first numbered 1, exhibited at the Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art in Luxembourg under the title Bouncing Chimpanzee, and our copy, numbered 2. Other sculptures, just as interesting and representative of my taste for 20th century sculpture, among the works of Georges-Lucien Guyot (1885-1972), Armand Petersen (1891-1969) and Édouard-Marcel Sandoz (1881-1971) complete this ephemeral collection, I do hope will hold your attention by its extraordinary diversity and its unrelenting search for uncompromised quality. Nicolas Bourriaud
25th May 2022Earth Animals - 8 th of June - 9th of July 2022 - 1 Quai Voltaire 75007
EXHIBITION The 19th century went through a real passion for animal sculpture, with bronze as its material of choice. As a result, it has been somewhat forgotten that before being executed in bronze, the first sculpture was made in earth. Through this new exhibition entitled Earth Animals, the Nicolas Bourriaud Galleries wish to highlight this and give this sculptural material the place it deserves. An inherent part of the creative process or created as a genuine piece of art, a unique model or produced in various copies, modelled or moulded, earth appeals by its malleability and the plastic richness it offers according to its multiple materials. Clay, sandstone, biscuit, porcelain, plaster... the artist chooses each of them depending on the desired purpose or effect. Thus matte biscuit for François Pompon's White Bear, sandstone with red-orange shades and a grainy texture for Marcel Derny's Roe deer or Georges Hilbert's Panther, plaster for Georges-Lucien Guyot's Meditating Cynocephalus or Marcel Lémar's Bear lying down, or terracotta for unique studies or observation pieces such as Roger Godchaux's Lion devouring its prey or Christophe Fratin's Bear playing panpipesand many others... The fragility and delicacy of all these works sometimes offer a surprising contrast with the powerful expression of emotions or the noble attitude of these animals which we are most happy to unveil for the delight of the eyes. Nicolas Bourriaud
1st March 2022Our new exhibition "Over Water"
In March 2022, the Nicolas Bourriaud galleries will be organising an exhibition of animal and figurative sculptures around the theme 'Over water'. An invitation to dream and imagine birds such as Rembrandt Bugatti's 'Saddle-billed Stork'' and his 'Pink Flamingo on movement', Henri Vallette's 'Duckling' or Antoine-Louis Barye's peaceful 'Tortoise'moving freely along a stream or a spring; you will also come across Roger Godchaux's 'Two Lionesses at the river', Mateo Hernàndez's stunning 'Crowned Crane', Edouard Marcel Sandoz's slender 'Moray eel', Jean Graves's most exotic 'Elephant' and Armand Petersen's 'Hippopotamus'. An abundance of life in all its forms: birds, fish, animals in bronze, stone, plaster and sandstone as well as a group of figurative sculptures, most of them young girls bathing or washing themselves, all of them very much at ease in this hospitable setting. Some of them seem to be enjoying the water while others veil themselves with modesty before or after the bath. A theme favouring the nude which, from Antiquity to the present day, seduced sculptors and painters of all artistic movements. At the heart of our exhibition are Joseph Bernard's elegant 'Young girl at her toilet', Raymond Martin's 'Young girl with a jug' and Aimé-Jules Dalou's 'Bather drying her right foot'. Not forgetting Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's 'Fisherman with a shell' who, in a familiar gesture, listens to the sound of the sea in a shell, suggesting by association of ideas the mysteries of the underwater world. Our scenery of thirty artworks by major sculptors of the 19th and 20th centuries will allow you, for a moment, to enter into a hidden and dreamlike aquatic world vibrating with beauty and harmony. Nicolas Bourriaud Exhibition from Thursday 10 March to Saturday 16 April 2022 Nicolas Bourriaud Gallery 205, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008 Paris
8th February 2022Rare sculpture by Antoine-Louis BARYE (1795-1875)
Antoine-Louis BARYE (1795-1875) Theseus fighting the Centaur Biénor (Artist proof) Brown patina bronze model signed 'A. L. BARYE'. Visible cast seams. Cast by Boyer Aîné. Bears the mention 'BRONZE AYANT OBTENU LA GDE MEDAILLE D’HONNEUR A L’EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE DE 1855 POUR SA FLEUR DE FONTE. BOYER ainé FONDEUR'. Height: 12,9 " (33 cm) - Length: 13,9 " (35,5cm) -. Depth: 5 " (12,8 cm). Circa 1855 Bibliography : Exposition universelle de 1855, Rapports du jury mixte international, Paris, 1956, page 920. Michel Polletti et Alain Richarme, Barye Catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Paris, 2000, page 111, F34. Owing to a particularly long career, Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875) left an indelible imprint on the history of the 19th Century French sculpture. Son of a goldsmith, he was trained so as to succeed his father. He then chose two masters, Bosio for modelling and Gros for drawing. After a seven-year apprenticeship at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he entered the workshop of the goldsmith Jacques-Henri Fauconnier (1779-1839) alongside whom he perfected his art. Very early on he spent quite a lot of time at the Jardin des Plantes, together with his friend Eugène Delacroix, where he learned to master morphology and animal anatomy. Barye emerged as a sculptor when his 'Tiger devouring a garial' was exhibited at the 1831 Salon and met with instant success. The 1833 Salon marked his consecration with the famous 'Lion and Serpent'. From there on he benefited from the protection of the royal family, as shown by the commission of an imposing table centre-piece from Philippe d'Orléans. Around 1838, Barye set up his first foundry, dealing with both the carving and the commercialization of his artworks. Then, and for thirteen years on, he lost the control of the carving of his bronzes, when he associated with the manufacturer Emile Martin. In 1854, he was appointed professor of zoological drawing at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Three years later, he once again took control of his production with the Barye workshop, which brought together sculptors, chiselers and patina artists, and this until his death in 1875. Throughout that period, orders were pouring in from prestigious art collectors and American art dealers who started to acquire his works. At the 1855 Exposition Universelle, Barye received the Grande Médaille d'honneur, and in that of 1867, the Grande Médaille d'Or. He was elected at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1868 by unanimity of the votes cast. In 1874, the last catalogue of his bronzes was published at 4 quai des Célestins, Paris. Theseus fighting the Centaur Bienor (artist proof) Originally entitled, 'Lapithe killing a centaur', this artist proof was modelled during the years 1846 to 1848 in view of the large sculpture model displayed at the 1850 Salon and with which it presents certain variants : position of the centaur's foreleg, of its left hand, its plumed tail, presentation of its plinth. This artist proof, which met with great success, was exhibited with other creations 'Jaguar devouring a hare', 'Theseus fighting the Minotaur' in 1855, on the occasion of the first Universal Exhibition in France. Barye was awarded the highest distinction, the Grande Médaille d'honneur, in his category, the 17th, that of the art bronzes. The jury's report more particularly emphasized the fine quality of the sculptor's work, mentioning 'the grain of the cast iron is excellent ; it has not been altered by chiselling which was merely used to remove the seams'. (Doc.1) This award has been engraved on the base of our copy with this mention: 'BRONZE AYANT OBTENU LA GDE MEDAILLE D'HONNEUR A L'EXPOSITION 1855 POUR SA FLEUR DE FONTE. BOYER aîné FONDEUR'. The fact that the inscription was carved rather than moulded is a clear indication that it was on the bronze displayed in 1855. Our copy, which has a remarkably fine quality patina and a great delicacy in the rendering of details, nonetheless presents all the seams resulting from the mould after the sand-cast process. This could appear surprising for such an artwork, which has furthermore been exhibited, as the chiselling usually comes after the cast to remove the seams and smoothly rework the bronze. The sculpture was in fact deliberately displayed with visible seams so as to show the great technical quality of the cast iron which did not need chiselling. The jury did not fail to raise this point. A letter from Barye dated 20 November 1855 confirms that the group in bronze representing a 'Lapith killing a Centaur', produced by the Boyer aîné foundry, had been displayed at the Exposition Universelle in 1855. (Doc 2) This sculpture is therefore an outstanding and rare model as a demonstration of Barye's high quality work, which was exhibited next to a completed sculpture, the one purchased in 1855 and still held in the Victoria & Albert Museum's collections (n° 2709-56).
3rd February 2022An exceptional sculpture by Auguste Trémont
Auguste Trémont (1892-1980) Born in a family of five children to a tailor, whom he lost very young, and to a mother who became a shoemaker, Auguste Trémont showed at an early age a true talent and aptitude for drawing. Encouraged by his teachers and, as many other Luxembourger artists, he left his native country in 1909 to pursue his art training in Paris and improve his drawing and painting techniques. He first enrolled at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, where he entered the decoration workshop led by Eugène Morand who was also the head teacher of the school. He graduated one of the first of his class in 1912. He was then admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Gabriel Ferrier's workshop. Back in Luxembourg for the summer holidays, he was retained there by the war and did not return to Paris before 1919. He reenrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts but soon gave it up to spend some time everyday at the Jardin des Plantes. There he made the acquaintance of Paul Jouve and under his influence, started to draw and paint big cats. Then from 1924, he grew an interest in animal sculpture and from then on displayed his artworks in Luxembourg (Salon du Cercle Artistique, Salon de la Sécession...) as well as in Paris (Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Salon des Tuileries, Salon d'Automne...). He was soon involved with the group of animal painters he got to know at the Jardin des Plantes, exhibited together with them from the 1920's, and at the same time continuing to frequent his fellow countrymen. His workshop, located in the 5th arrondissement, became the meeting place of the future Luxembourger elite and many public and private orders were then set in motion. In Luxembourg he thus created the two lions flanking the stairs of the town hall's façade, the sculptures of the cathedral's lateral portal, the bas-reliefs of the two ambones as well as the two big lions at the entrance of the crypt. Trémont was also in charge of creating the sculptures for the Grand-Duché's Pavilion on the occasion of the International Exhibitions of Bruxelles in 1935, Paris in 1937 and New-York in 1939. He received many public and private commissions from the bourgeoisie, hence becoming the most famous sculptor in his native country. Many artworks of the artist are held at the Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art du Luxembourg. The chimpanzee is a particularly outstanding sculpture of Auguste Trémont's work as it was the first to have been cast in bronze. It is due to the generosity of a physician, Dr Schneider who, during the 1924 summer, came across the model of a Chimpanzee the artist had made in clay and encouraged Trémont to cast it in bronze, offering to bear all relating expenses. Only two original models in bronze have been inventoried so far: the first one currently housed by the Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art du Luxembourg known as the 'Bouncing chimpanzee' and our sculpture, numbered 2, which was displayed at the 1927 Salon de la Sécession in Luxembourg. André Trémont here features a remarkable model of a chimpanzee walking, of which he captured masterfully the imposing stride while bringing out its character and impressive presence. Most representative of the artist's style, this model also came in a smaller version, in glazed stone by the Manufacture de Sèvres. To the question as to why he became an animal sculptor, Auguste Trémont answered: “ because it was the most difficult”.
28th January 2022Emile-Antoine BOURDELLE (1861-1929) Beethoven on a column with closed eyes
Emile-Antoine BOURDELLE (1861-1929) Beethoven on a column with closed eyes Plaster bust signed 'A. Bourdelle', dedicated '...uisDisp ... ' bears on its plinth the inscription 'my realm is air, when the wind comes up my soul swirls' Total height : 24" (61 cm) – Length : 11,4" (29 cm) -. Depth : 13,3" (34 cm) Circa 1901 Bibliography: DUFET (Michel), Le drame de Beethoven vécu par Bourdelle, Paris, 1966. KAISER (Dorothea), L'Orchestre silencieux. Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929) : Les sculptures de Beethoven, La revue du Louvre et des musées de France, n°5/ 6 December 1995, page 91 to 106. Born in Montauban, son of a carpenter/cabinet maker, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle revealed his great drawing talent at an early age, which was strongly encouraged by his school teacher. Noneless he soon left school for his father's workshop, while attending evening classes for drawing. He also showed a particular interest in modelling. Admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Toulouse, he stood out for his rejection of academic teaching. Already pointing out his ambition to break with the established order in sculpture, he still sat for the entrance examination of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Paris, came out second and entered Alexander Falguiere's workshop. Quite determined to practise his art as he saw fit, Bourdelle left him a year later to settle in his own studio. In 1893, he met Rodin who hired him as an assistant. Their collaboration which lasted around fifteen years, developped into a true friendship. In 1901, together with Jules Desbois, the two artists founded a free school for training in sculpture. However Bourdelle, who sought for his own path, moved away from the master's style, which exacerbated the forms so as to, on the contrary, simplify and even synthetize them. With his 'Head of Apollo', he severed all ties with his master and friend. His first personal exhibition took place at the Hébrard gallery. He was then appointed professor at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière, where Giacometti and Vieira da Silva were among his pupils. Contacted for the realization of public orders, he also created the bas-relief of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées's façade as well as its inside frescos. His work acquired a great renown in France as abroad, and his sculptures can be seen in many public places and cultural institutions. Beethoven on a column with closed eyes Beethoven held a genuine and almost obssessional fascination on Bourdelle, for his personnality locked up in deafness as for the power of his music to which the artist was introduced quite young. He had in common with Beethoven a high forehead, a fiery gaze and his hair style. The physical identification soon became an artistic one. From 1888 until his death, he thereby dedicated around 80 effigies to Beethoven, in bronze, stone, terracotta and plaster, all disguised self-portraits, in which the facial expression varies with an impressive sensitivity. For this purpose he got his inspiration from a living imprint captured by the Austrian sculptor Franz Klein in 1812. To do so, Beethoven's eyes and mouth had to be protected and the latter had to breathe by means of two tubes put down his nose. The original plaster copy, housed in Beethoven's native home, was to be followed by many artist's proofs, which explains the large diffusion of Beethoven's portrait of which Bourdelle himself bought a copy. These various effigies were as time went by treated in different ways : eyes open or closed, with a lot or very little hair, with a jabot, with one hand or with two, or with the cheek resting on one hand. Our plaster model is presented facing forward, with closed eyes, on a prismatic base allowing to sit the figure in space. The presentation of this bust is however tormented with the dishevelled hair, the wrinkling of the forehead and the contraction of the jaw. It clearly shows Rodin's influence although the obvious quest for formal simplification highlights Bourdelle's new approach. This copy 'Beethoven on a column with closed eyes' was created in the years 1901 to 1902. Our copy is dedicated, as was often the case, as the artist used to offer these plaster copies to his near relatives. One can clearly see the mention 'ui Disp'. It referred most probably to the Dispan de Floran family, and in particular Louis Dispan de Floran, with whom Bourdelle had close links. Photographs and writings from this period evidence the fact that he possessed a 'Beethoven on a column with eyes closed'. The plinth of our copy bears the wording 'my realm is air, when the wind comes up my soul swirls'. It is the reproduction of one of Beethoven's citation which the artist probably came across in his conversation books, as he was in the habit of methodically compiling all documents related to the musician. The Musée Bourdelle holds a plaster copy similar to ours in all respects, except of course for the dedication. All of the plaster copies were artist's proofs. They were never cast in bronze during Bourdelle's time but led to the 'Beethoven dite Hébrard', of which one copy is kept at the Musée Bourdelle. Even though Bourdelle regularly exhibited his sculptures of Beethoven, the first retrospective on this theme only took place in 1951 in Bonn and in several German towns, while the second was held at the Musée Bourdelle in 1970. The latter currently displays a new exhibition until the 17th of December 2021: 'Bourdelle devant Beethoven'.
20th January 2022Maurice PROST (1894-1967) Panther on a branch
Maurice PROST (1894-1967) Panther on a branch Brown patina bronze model with green undertones. Signed 'M.Prost', numbered 11, bears the stamp of the cobras. Produced using the sand cast process by the artist Height : 17,3" (44 cm) – Length : 27,9" (71cm) – Depth : 6,4" (16,5 cm). Circa 1940 Bibliography : Maurice Prost 1894-1967 sculpteur animalier, Edition Concorde Art International, Paris, 1999, model shown on page 19 ; Musée municipal Robert Dubois-Corneau, Maurice Prost sculpteur et peintre animalier (1894-1967), Exhibition catalogue (Brunoy, Musée municipal Robert Dubois-Corneau, 10 April-30 September 2007), Edition MMRDC, 2007, displayedon page 47 n° 26. Maurice Prost, who lost an arm during the first months of World War I, was forced to give up his job as a jewellery chiseller and gave free rein to his passion for animal sculpture. He became a direct-cut carver, at first thanks to his wife who helped him hit the bronze with the chisel he was holding and directing. Later on, the artist started using a pneumatic hammer which enabled him to be fully self-sufficient in his art. From 1918 on, he spent time everyday at the Jardin des Plantes drawing and modelling. There He met the other animal sculptors with whom he became bound by a sincere friendship. In 1921, He was exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français and also displayed his works of art at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Artistes Animaliers. In 1930, Prost took part in the exhibition of the Artistes Animaliers, galerie Edgar Brandt, at boulevard Malesherbes, and a year later, displayed his 'Black Panther' at the Exposition Coloniale. Panther on a branch If big cats played a prominent role in the artist's sculpted work, the 'Panther on a branch' is a rare model, as at this date only twelve copies have been inventoried. One of them is held by the Musée de Montbéliard, currently on loan to the Musée de Brunoy. The sculptor features a very vibrant, anatomist version of a panther with a proud bearing, lying on a branch in a rather nonchalant position with its paw dangling. This naturalistic representation, barely stylized, very far from the Art Deco style in which Prost's work is too often confined, brings to light his great tenderness for big cats. Old photographs taken in his workshop, rue de la Tombe Issoire (Paris 14), in which he settled in late 1936, show the model of the sculpture and also one of the artist finishing the modelling process. This one was edited by Maurice Prost himself, who controlled its entire manufacturing process. Exceptional for its rarity, its carving and its presence, this 'Panther on a branch' was exhibited at the Musée Robert Dubois-Corneau in 2007 and in 2018 at the Musée Robert Poulain in Vernon. We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation to Mr Pierre Kastelyn for all the valuable information he has provided us with.
10th January 2022Our very best wishes for 2022
The Nicolas Bourriaud galleries send you their greetings for a happy and fulfilling year 2022. To accompany them, we have chosen this group of 'Cubs playing' by Roger Godchaux (1878-1958). It is a bronze model with a nuanced brown patina, signed 'Roger Godchaux', cast by Susse, numbered 5/6, which bears the founder's stamp and the inscriptions 'Susse Frères Edts Paris', 'cire perdue'. Circa 1930. A touching scene of grace as those the sculptor, great admirer and collector of Antoine-Louis Barye (1795-1875), liked to portray. Animals, in particular elephants and big cats, were his favourite subjects and Godchaux drew his inspiration from circuses, the Museum of Natural History and the Jardin d'Acclimatation. There were few fight scenes among his sculptures, Godchaux preferring to focus on the animal in its everyday attitudes. The artwork of the artist, close to Paul Jouve, stands out for its apparent textures which make the skin of the animals seem almost alive and tactile as can be seen by the numerous oblique striations on the bronze's surface. Tenderly bound, the two cubs exude a calm strength which brings to light the sculptor's preference for wild animals. Bibliography: Jean-François Dunand, Xavier Eeckhout, Roger Godchaux Œuvre complet, Dijon, 2021, page 88, model reproduced under the number F21a.