REF NO : B76840

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) ‘La Joueuse de Boules’

France, Circa 1902





Height: 81 cm (32 in)
REF NO : B76840


Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904)
‘La Joueuse de Boules’

Signed ‘J.L. Gerome’ to the base and stamped Siot-Decauville Fondeur / Paris.

Jean-Léon Gérôme was born in 1824 in Vesoul and studied there until he was 16 years old when he left his family for Paris to follow the teachings of Paul Delaroche and later Charles Gleyre. He resisted the new movement of Impressionism and continued to develop the French Neo-classical style, later championing that genre. At the height of his career, after having won many gold medals and other prestigious awards, Gérôme became the President of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and was honored as a knight in the Légion d’honneur.

Although Gérôme continued to paint until his death, from 1878 onward, he focused his energies on sculpture. Most often the subjects of his sculpture were inspired by his paintings, as in the present sculpture. La joueuse de boules, often referred to as Danseuse au trois masques was exhibited at the Salon in 1902 carved in marble and tinted with pigments, the artist also executed the composition in polychrome ivory and in bronze. It shows a nude playing a game in the antique tradition, but of Gérôme’s invention, where balls must be dropped into the open mouths of the masks below, without the player moving her feet. Gérôme painted two self-portraits at work on the large marble version of this subject, also in 1902, one of which is in the collection of the Musée Garret, Vesoul (Ackerman no. 474).

France, Circa 1902.



Circa 1902




Gilt Bronze


Signed 'J.L. Gerome' to the base and stamped Siot-Decauville Fondeur / Paris.

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904) was a French painter and sculptor, known for his highly accomplished academic style. A student of Paul Delaroche, he attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and exhibited frequently at the Paris Salon with great success, earning himself numerous medals. Regarded as one of the initiators of the Neo-Greek style, his works were of great influence to the Parisian art world of the nineteenth century.

Although today best known as a painter of historical and mythological subjects, he created a large number of exceptional sculptures, many of which were exhibited to great acclaim at the Great Exhibitions of the period. His first work was a large bronze statue of a gladiator holding his foot on his victim, shown to the public at the 1878 Exposition Universelle. This bronze was based on the main theme of his painting Pollice verso (1872). The same year he exhibited a marble statue at the 1878 Salon, based on his early painting Anacreon, Bacchus and Cupid (1848).

Among his other works are Omphale (1887), and the statue of the Duc d’Aumale (1899) which stands in front of the Château de Chantilly. His life-size statue Bellona (1892), in ivory, bronze and gemstones, attracted great attention at the exhibition in the Royal Academy of London. The artist then began an interesting series of ‘conquerors’, wrought in gold, silver and gems entitled Bonaparte Entering Cairo (1897); Tamerlane (1898); and Frederick the Great (1899).

Works by Gérôme are now in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the John Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia; the National Gallery, London, and many more leading institutions world wide.

Ackerman, G.M. La vie et l’oeuvre de Jean-Léon Gérôme, ACR Edition Internationale ( Courbevoie, France), 1992.
Meyer, Jonathan. Great Exhibitions – London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge.UK), 2006; p.236.





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