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ref. 2911/16

F. Barbedienne

Bronze caster

(1810-1892)

P. Dubois

Sculptor

(1829-1905)

J.A.J. Falguière

Sculptor

(1831-1900)

Magnificent Console

France

Circa 1880

Total height with mirror: 383 cm (151 in.)
Console : Height : 97 cm (38 in.) ; Length : 291 cm (114 in.) ; Depth : 47 cm (18 in.)
Height with pedestals : 178 cm (70 in.) – Width of pedestals tops : 36 x 23 cm (14 x 9 in.)

This magnificent white carrare and bleu turquin marble Louis XVI style console is embellished with carved and gilded bronze ornaments. The belt, adorned with a fluted frieze, masks of Bacchus and rosettes, is standing on six spirally fluted feet with foliage on the extremities. The part meant to be placed against the wall is divided in several pannels framed with moulded and beaded bronze.

Above the console stands a giltwood and white-painted mirror, richly decorated at its top with a carved head of Apollo flanked by acanthus leaves and treillis. The mirror is framed by two patinated bronze female figures, each holding seven-light candelabra and standing on pedestals richly adorned with laurel garlands and bronze frames. These are casts by F.Barbedienne, after models by J.A.J. Falguière and P.Dubois (they are signed to the base, one ‘FALGVIERE and F.BARBEDIENNE. Fondeur’, the other ‘P.DUBOIS’ and ‘F.BARBEDIENNE’). The original models of these bronzes were shown at the 1867 Exposition Universelle before being installed at the Château de Compiègne for the enjoyment of Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie.

Provenance

The masterful console was commissionned to Barbedienne around 1880 to garnish the interiors of the Conte de Chambrun at the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé, 12 rue Monsieur, 7th arrondissement, Paris. This console was part of the sale of the count’s art and furniture collections that took place on the 18th of June 1900 after the count’s death (listed as lot n°52 in the sale catalogue).

Biographies

Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892), the most important caster of bronze pieces of art during the second half of the 19th Century, created and directed in Paris one of the major artistic founderies of his time. Barbedienne specialised in classical reproductions, whose models were exposed in famous European museums. Their illustrated catalogues included many diverse objects such as busts, ornemental sculpture (clocks, candelabras, cups) sometimes even life-sized and also bronzes for furniture. Apart from his own production, Barbedienne worked for the most renowned sculptors such as Barrias, Clésinger and Carrier-Belleuse. All his works were highly esteemed and he, himself honoured by contemporary critics. At the London exhibition in 1851 Barbedienne’s firm won two « Council medals ». At the 1855 Universal Exhibition, he won a medal of honour. The success of Barbedienne’s firm brought him many official commissions. At the London Universal Exhibition of 1862 Barbedienne won medals in three different categories : Furniture, Silversmith work and Artistic bronzes. Barbedienne was made an officer of the Légion d’Honneur in 1867 and Commander in 1878 when he was compared with « a prince of industry and the king of bronze casting ». His glory did not decline with the passage of the time for at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 the critics thanked Barbedienne for the example he set for other bronze-casters by the perfection of his bronzes.

Paul Dubois (1829-1905) studied law before entering the workshop of Toussaint, then the School of Fine Arts. After travelling in Italy, he participated to the Salon of 1863 and won the third medal for the sculpture category. He won several other medals : the Medal of Honour with his Florentine Singer (1865), and two First Class Medals in 1876 and 1878. In 1876, he became a Membre de l’Institut, really began working as a painter, and was especially appreciated as a portraitist. He later became Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1867,Officier in 1874, Commandeur in 1886 and Grand-Croix in 1896. He also successfully directed the Luxembourg Museum and the National School of Fine Arts.

Jean Alexandre Joseph Falguière (1831-1900), was a student of Jouffroy at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon de Paris in 1857. In 1859, he won the Rome Prize. In 1864, he sent from Rome a Winner of the Cock Fight which won a medal at the Salon. In 1867, he won a medal at the Salon for the martyr Tarcisius and another one at the Universal Exhibition. In 1868, he won the Medal of Honour at the Salon with a marble replica of Tarcisius. He teached at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. He was appointed Chevalier then Officier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1870 and 1878.

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