Signed A. Vermare and F. Barbedienne Fondeur
Height: 4,90 m (16 ft.) ; Width : 3,00 m (10 ft.) ; Depth : 1,90 cm (6 ft.)
Chiseled bronze with green patina. Representing a classic scene from the Greco-Roman mythology. Young prince Acteon, hunting with his dogs, surprises the goddess Diana bathing naked in a pond. Furious, Diana metamorphoses Acteon into a deer and lets his dogs devour him.
This work is a perfect example of André Vermare’s talent for monumental group sculpture. This piece is particularly accomplished : the different elements of the composition form an ascending theme, leading the eye from the base to the top of the sculpture. From the deer chased by two dogs, followed by a frightened child, to Diana, disheveled and naked, proudly dominating the composition.
M. Roxoroïz de Belford aquired this masterpiece in June 1913, directly from the artist. The fountain was then placed in a niche situated in the court of his hôtel particulier, located 29 avenue Bugeaud in Paris.
André César Vermare (son of sculptor Pierre Vermare) grew up in a French and Italian Renaissance period admiration. He studied at the Lyon Fine Arts School, where he received a gold medal in 1889 before joining the workshop of Alexandre Falguière (1837-1900) in Paris. In 1899, André Vermare won the « Premier Prix de Rome » for a plaster low relief representing « Adam and Eve finding the body of Abel ». This sculpted group, « triangular and compact, in a clay and smoke recently born world decor », is still displayed at the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts.nDuring the three years Vermare spent at the Villa Medicis in Rome, the French State bought every piece he created :
– For the « Palais du Commerce » in Lyon, Le Rhône et la Saône, a marble high relief (h. 58 cm, l. 133 cm, p. 33 cm), exhibited at the 1905 Salon (ref. n° 3699), and executed from its original plaster model displayed at the 1902 Salon (ref. n° 2917). This masterpiece plays with the natural contrast of the river and it tributary ; The Saône river, graceful, and the violence of the Rhône river.
– Suzanne (h. 180 cm, l. 65 cm, p. 88 cm), a marble sculpture presented at the 1905 Salon (ref. n° 3698) and exhibited until 1939 at the « Musée du Luxembourg ». This piece had also been edited in a smaller version by the Sèvres porcelain Manufacture.
The city of Paris also acquires part of Vermare’s production:
– Les Vendanges, Bronze group exhibited at the 1906 Salon and displayed the same year in the “Square Trousseau” garden in Paris (that bronze group has been destroyed during World War II).
– Pierrot, a marble sculpture exhibited at the 1911 Salon, and purchased to complete the Petit-Palais Museum collection.
André Vermare contributed as well to numerous official monuments:
– A Sadi Carnot, for Saint-Chamond town, in 1895.
– Aux Combattants de 1870-71, for Saint-Etienne town, in 1897.
– Au docteur Gailleton, for Lyon city, in 1913.
– Au Cardinal Touchet, for Orleans city.
– Au Cardinal Tascherau, for Québec.
Beside his official orders and his permanent participation to the Salons de la Société des Artistes Français, André Vermare also sculpted allegorical and mythological works and religious pieces. He was the creator of the famous Jeanne d’Arc portant son étendard displayed in Saint Louis des Français church in Rome.
Born in 1810, Ferdinand Barbedienne started one of the most famous 19th century artistic bronze casting companies. He died in 1892. In addition to his personal production, he worked for famous artists such as Clésinger, Carrière-Belleuse and Guillemin. Barbedienne’s production was always highly esteemed and he was, himself admired by contemporary art critics who compared him during the 1878 Universal Exhibition to a « prince of industry and the king of bronze-casting ». He was there awarded the « Grand Prix » as well as 28 cooperator medals. 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.