A. E. Carrier-Belleuse
(2nd half of 19th century)
“Night” and “Day” Pair of torcheres
Inscribed A. Carrier
and Anc. Mon Colin éditeur – fondeur Paris
Late 19th century
Torchere height : 193 cm (75.9 in.) ; Base height : 80 cm (31.5 in.) ; Base width : 46×46 cm (18.1 x 18.1 in.).
Exceptional pair of female torchere-holders, made in dark patinated bronze. Each dressed with antique style drapes, and holding up a gilt-bronze five light-arms candelabra. Day, bareheaded and with braided hair ; Night, the head covered by her coat and holding poppy flowers and fruits symbolizing sleep. Standing on a molded and painted wooden pedestal.
These female torchere-holders repeat a common theme created by Carrier-Belleuse, what model for one of the two shapes was presented for the first time at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867. It was then used on a big clock made in collaboration with G. Viot company. The bronze figure holds a large pendulum instead of a candelabrum.
(reproduced and commented in 1851-1900 Le arti decorative alle grandi Esposizioni Universalli, D. Alcouffe, Idea Libri, p° 78, n° 256.)
Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887), nick-named the « Clodion of the 19th century » ; was a very prolific sculptor, treating his decorative objects and his portraits with equal naturalistic rigor, full of charm and life. He entered the Paris Fine-Arts school in 1840, where he studied sculpture under David d’Angers. From the early 1860’s, he won success with his sculptures presented at the French Artists Salon and particularly during the 1867 Salon, where he was awarded a « médaille d’honneur » and the « Légion d’honneur » for his Messiah. The « new » Paris redesigned by the Baron Haussmann during Napoleon IIIrd’s reign, commissioned many of Carriere-Belleuse’s masterpieces : at the Louvre palace with the high-relief « L’Abondance » on the Flore Pavilion (1865), or the sumptuous decoration made for the most famous Parisian palace on the Champs-Elysées Avenue, owned by the Marchioness of Païva. But it is especially with the torcheres-statues of the large staircase of the Paris Opera house (1873), recently built by Charles Garnier, that Carrier-Belleuse meets a huge success with the Parisian public. In the catalogue of the 1878 Universal Exhibition an art critic praised Carrier-Belleuse and added: « Even the English come from London to ask him to work for them ». His busts, nudes, group compositions as well as his candelabras, vases and clocks, all chased remarkably, had a considerable success during the Second Empire.
Emile Colin, a renowned founder installed since 1843, No. 29 Sévigné Street in Paris, cast as soon as 1855 for the most wellknow masters of France sculpture, such A.E. Carrier-Belleuse (Le Zouave), J. Pradier (Les Trois Grâces, Vénus consolant l’Amour) or J.B. Carpeaux since 1875 (L’Enfant au cor), as well as the famous Parisian silversmith Christofle. Colin used to stamp his bronzes of the mention « Emile Colin & Cie » from 1882 until 1898. That mark became later « M. Colin & Cie » from 1898 until 1906, then « Ancienne Maison Colin, Jollet & Cie » from 1906 until 1923. Worldwide renowned, Emile Colin sent to the Chicago Universal Exhibition of 1893 bronze works of art, with among them, ormolu mounted marble urns and a large bronze clock. The Colin Company counted then at the turn of the century among the greatest bronze-casters at the sides of Barbedienne, Susse and Siot-Decauville. With the death of Emile Colin in 1900, his own models were sold to the Company Doistal, set up in Paris, Avenue Daumesnil. This firm doesn’t exist anymore. The Colin Company was once again honoured at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition with lights of various styles designed and modelled by Léon Méssagé.