REF NO : B72440

Ferdinand Barbedienne

A Pair of Napoléon III Gilt And Silvered-Bronze-Mounted Rouge Griotte Marble Vases And Pedestals

France, Circa 1867

£420,000

A Pair of Napoléon III Gilt And Silvered-Bronze-Mounted Rouge Griotte Marble Vases And Pedestals, by Ferdinand Barbedienne. France, Circa 1867 Designed...

Dimensions

Height: 210 cm (83 in)
Width: 47 cm (19 in)
Depth: 37 cm (15 in)
REF NO : B72440

Description

A Pair of Napoléon III Gilt And Silvered-Bronze-Mounted Rouge Griotte Marble Vases And Pedestals, by Ferdinand Barbedienne. France, Circa 1867

Designed By Louis-Consant Sévin, The Enamel By Claudius Popelin.

These exhibition quality vases on pedestals are magnificent examples of nineteenth century industrial art, whereby the great art industrial manufacturers of the day lavished unlimited budgets and technical resources at the feet of artists to create works of art of unparalleled technical accomplishment.

Each lidded vase flanked by winged caryatid handles and fronted by enamel portrait roundels titled ‘LA VENEZIANA SIGNORILE’ and ‘LA ROMANA BELLISSIMA’ each signed ‘Claudius Popelin’ and applied to the reverse with cast medallions monogrammed ‘EM’, on leaf-cast socle and circular foot, the pedestals en suite, each with spreading entablature centred by a shield monogrammed ‘EM’, above a tapering body fronted by ribbon-tied fruiting swags, over a leaf-cast foot-rim

Exhibitied

Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1867.

‘En cette même année [1867], Barbedienne était venu trouver Claudius Popelin et lui avait demandé deux émaux d’allure décorative. C’est le premier essai que le grand bronzier fit de l’émail peint. Popelin composa pour lui deux figures de femmes à la manière italienne: Rome et Venise. Elles furent montées sur la panse de deux grands vases en rouge antique, dont les anses étaient formées de chimères ailées. Constant Sévin en avait fait le modèle.’ (Gazette des Beaux-Arts, (Paris), 1893, Tome 10, Period III; pp. 62-63)

‘Deux grands vases en marbre rouge antique, enchassés dans des métaux superbes, avec médaillons peints sur émail par le maître Claudius Popelin. (Luchet, Auguste. L’Art industriel à l’Exposition Universelle de 1867 – mobilier, vêtements, aliments, (Paris), 1868.)

‘En cette même année [1867], Barbedienne était venu trouver Claudius Popelin et lui avait demandé deux émaux d’allure décorative. C’est le premier essai que le grand bronzier fit de l’émail peint. Popelin composa pour lui deux figures de femmes à la manière italienne: Rome et Venise. Elles furent montées sur la panse de deux grands vases en rouge antique, dont les anses étaient formées de chimères ailées. Constant Sévin en avait fait le modèle.’ (Gazette des Beaux-Arts, (Paris), 1893, Tome 10, Period III; pp. 62-63)

‘Deux grands vases en marbre rouge antique, enchassés dans des métaux superbes, avec médaillons peints sur émail par le maître Claudius Popelin. (Luchet, Auguste. L’Art industriel à l’Exposition Universelle de 1867 – mobilier, vêtements, aliments, (Paris), 1868.)

THE ENAMEL
The portrait roundels of ‘La Veneziana Signorile’ and ‘La Romana Bellissima’ fronting the vases are by Claudius Popelin (1825-1892) in the style of the Limousin artists of the Renaissance. Interestingly a cabinet by the ébéniste Auguste-Hyppolyte Sauvrezy in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris (OAO 1180), which was shown at the 1867 Paris Exposition universelle, is decorated with very similar enamel portrait roundels by Popelin of women with banners above titled ‘La Benevolenza’ and ‘La Generosita’. Popelin was a French enameller, painter and writer who studied under François-Edouard Picot and Ary Scheffer. He began his career as a history painter, and from 1852 to 1862, he sent paintings based on French and Italian Renaissance subjects to the Salon. From 1860, however, his study of the 16th century inclined him towards the decorative arts, and though initially producing faience, he preferred the delicate technique of painting on enamel, which he learnt from Alfred Meyer (1832–1904).

The portraits here of Roman and Venetian women are exemplary of Popelin’s early technique whereby the intense colours, including a violet of his own invention, are enhanced by the sparkle of silver foil. His success resulted in orders from manufacturers, and his enamels were used to decorate furniture, bronzes, silver and gold objects and bookbinding plates. From 1863 he devoted the next 30 years to the art of enamelling. Popelin was an erudite artist, a bibliophile and a poet and was one of the circle of artists who met at the salons of Princess Mathilde Bonaparte. He liked to assemble several enamel plaques together within the same frame to develop a single allegorical or historical theme, see his portrait of Napoléon III (1865; Paris, Musée d’Orsay DO 1983 70) which also includes portraits of Charlemagne, Napoléon I and others. The whereabouts of his masterpiece, Triumph of Truth, measuring 170 x 150 cm. and exhibited at the Salon of 1867 is unknown.

France, Circa 1867.

Dimensions
The vases: 36 in. (91.5 cm.) high; 19 in. (48.5 cm.) wide; 15 ½ in. (39 cm.) deep
The pedestals: 47 ¼ in. (120 cm.) high; 16 in. (40.5 cm.) wide; 13 ¼ in. (34 cm.) deep

 

Date

Circa 1867

Origin

France

Medium

Marble

Signature

Each signed 'Claudius Popelin', the cast medallions monogrammed 'EM', on leaf-cast socle and circular foot, the pedestals monogrammed 'EM'.

Ferdinand Barbedienne

Ferdinand Barbedienne (6 August 1810 – 21 March 1892) was a French metalworker and manufacturer, who was well known as a bronze founder.

The son of a small farmer from Calvados, he started his career as a dealer in wallpaper in Paris. In 1838 he went into partnership with Achille Collas (1795-1859), who had just invented a machine to create miniature bronze replicas of statues. Together they started a business selling miniatures of antique statues from museums all over Europe, thus democratising art and making it more accessible to households. From 1843 they extended their scope by reproducing the work of living artists and also diversified by making enamelled household objects. With the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 the firm briefly had to switch to cannon founding owing to the shortage of metals but resumed business afterwards. Following Barbedienne’s death in 1892, he was buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery and the firm was carried on by his nephew Gustave Leblanc until 1952.

Among the principal artists reproduced by the firm were Antoine Louis Barye and Auguste Rodin.

Provenance

John T. Martin, Esq. at 28 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, New York.Sold from the Private Collection of the late John T. Martin, Esq., The American Art Association, New York, 1909, lot 64.

John T. Martin (1816-1897) was typical of the great class of American art collectors of the 19th century who made their fortunes from railroads, manufacturing and banking and created a ‘Golden Moment’ of American Wealth. Today the period is best evoked by the Gatsbyesque mansions of The Gilded Age.

Martin made his fortune from a clothing contract with the Union Army and from even more lucrative banking and real-estate ventures after the Civil War. His mansion in Brooklyn Heights was built in the 1850s in the Greek Revival style and was published circa 1883-84 in Artistic Houses – a ‘series of Interior Views of a number of the Most Beautiful and Celebrated Homes in the United States with A Description of the Art Treasures contained therein’. Martin was an enthusiastic art collector whose collection included Going to Work, Dawn of Day by Jean-François Millet, which was lot 96 in the 1909 estate sale (bought by H. S. Henry of Philadelphia for $50,000). Martin’s collection also included La Charrette by Corot and two paintings by Nacisse-Virgile Diaz, from the realist Barbizon school, which show his sophisticated avant-garde taste (A. Lewis et al., The Opulent Interiors of the Gilded Age, (New York), 1987; p.141).

Literature

Luchet, Auguste. L’Art industriel à l’Exposition Universelle de 1867 – mobilier, vêtements, aliments, (Paris), 1868.

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