ref. 1158/1

A. Toussaint


F. Barbedienne


Pair of torcheres “Indian Slaves”

Signed Ad Toussaint 1850 and F. Barbedienne Fondeur
Stamped Achille Collas Réduction Mécanique

Circa 1850

Gilded and patinated bronze

Torcheres – Height : 148 cm (58 1/4 in.) ; Width : 34 cm (13 1/3 in.)
Pedestals – Height : 83 cm (33 in.) ; Width : 48 x 46 cm (19 x 18 in.)
Total height : 231 cm (91 in.)

Pair of gilt-and-patinated bronze oriental figures holding candelabra. Each semi-draped male or female Eastern figure, the female standing beside a box of jewels, the male holding a fan. Resting on a quadrangular base.

Toussaint Torchère appui-doc1The Indian Slaves by Toussaint are reproduced in the Barbedienne’s Art Bronzes Catalog of 1911.

The « Mechanical Reduction » stamp of A. Collas to be seen on these figures reminds us of the association between Collas and Barbedienne. In fact, beginning in 1839, Barbedienne went into partnership with Achille Collas (1795-1859), the inventor of the process of mechanical reduction, allowing Barbedienne not only to produce bronze pieces of different sizes, but more especially to take pride of place in the artistic bronze industry.

“L’Esclave indienne portant une torche” and “L’esclave indien portant une torche” are reduced versions of the plaster exhibited by Armand Toussaint at the 1847 Salon. These are the only known orientalist works of the sculptor. Most of his creations, more academic are related to monuments decoration (Palais de Justice de Paris, Notre-Dame de Paris, Bourse de Marseille).

In February 1850, the French Department of the Interior orders the sculptor a bronze version of these two works for the Palais de l’Elysée . The pair is exhibited at the 1850-1851 Salon (n°3599) and is still in the Interior Ministry, main staircase of the Jean Moulin building, 1bis place des Saussaies. The two sculptures have been added to the inventory of the Mobilier National since 1990 (GML 10258/1 et 2).

In 1855 this pair of torcheres appears in the A. Collas and Barbedienne society catalogue. They are at first edited in their reduced version, and will later be commercialized in two sizes (112 and 70 cm) under the name “Les deux indiens (esclaves porte-lumières)”.

Ferdinand Barbedienne is not the only editor of these “Deux Indiens torchères” by Armand Toussaint: at the 1862 London Universal Exhibition, Graux-Marly shows « the two beautiful slaves by the late Toussaint. During one of our last Salons, everyone was struck by those half naked figures, with their eyes on the ground, expressing the resignation of a vanquished people; these are two excellent candelabra models, who have been reduced to numerous dimensions; these will be beautiful at the bottom of a monumental stair” (dixit in P. Deherain, Exposition universelle de Londres en 1862, les industries d’art, Paris, impr. Bourdier et Cie, 1863, p.862).

On April 18th 1869, Ferdinand Barbedienne and Graux-Marly sign a contract concerning the different editions of these two works. This document authorizes Barbedienne to edit «the Indians of the late Armand Toussaint» in sizes inferior to 99,5 cm, and Graux-Marly to edit in sizes superior to 108 cm.


Archives Nationale, F21 5e série, 58 et 368 AP 2 ; Société A. Collas et Barbedienne, Bronzes d’art, Paris, 1855, p.27 ; Société A. Collas et Barbedienne, Bronzes d’art, Paris, 1857, p.28 ; Société A. Collas et Barbedienne, Bronzes d’art, Paris, 1858, p.32 ; F. Barbedienne, Bronzes d’art, Paris, 1865, p.40 ; F. Barbedienne, Catalogue des bronzes d’art, Paris, 1870, p. 42 ; F. Barbedienne, Bronzes d’art, Paris, 1875, p.48 ; F. Barbedienne, Bronzes d’art, Paris, 1878, p.57 ; Bronzes d’art F. Barbedienne, Paris, 1880, p. 58 ; Bronze d’art, Maison industrielle F. Barbedienne, Paris, 1886, p. 63 ; F. Barbedienne, Catalogue des bronzes d’art, Paris, 1891, p.68 ; F. Barbedienne, Leblanc-Barbedienne successeurs, Bronzes et objets d’art, Paris, 1900, p.80 ; F. Barbedienne, Leblanc-Barbedienne successeurs, Bronzes et objets d’art, Paris, 1911, p.49 ; Stanislas Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l’école française au XIXe siècle, t.IV, Paris, 1919, Kraus reprint, 1970, pp. 312-315 ; Pierre Kjellberg, Les bronzes du XIXe siècle, dictionnaire des sculpteurs, Paris, les éditions de l’amateur, 2005. p.13.



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