ref. 1829

R. De Saint Marceaux


F. Barbedienne


A. Collas



Circa 1880

Bronze patina with gilt highlights

Signature of René Saint Marceaux and dated 1879

Signed F. Barbedienne Fondeur Paris 

A. Collas Mechanical Reduction Stamps

Reduced size : 3/5 (Height: 103 cm (40,55 in.); Width : 38,5 cm (15,15 in.); Depth: 34,5 cm (13,6 in.) )

Elegant statue of a standing Harlequin, slightly leaning back, in patinated bronze with gilt highlights. 

Standing on a quadrangular base imitating the floor, this emblematic commedia dell’arte figure is recognizable by his bicorne hat, mask, diamond-shaped pattern jacket and mischievous smile. 

Capture d’écran 2023-09-21 à 18.00.37_resultat

This sculpture was a huge success at the end of the century, contributing to the fame of sculptor René de Saint Marceau, which encouraged production in a variety of sizes and materials; the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Reims conserves the original plaster dated 1879, Height. 175 cm (inventory no. 880.19.1) and another bronze version, Height. 34.2 cm, numbered 41411, (inventory number: 941.3.208).

The plaster cast was exhibited at the 1880 Salon des Artistes, and a contract was signed on October 1, 1880 between the sculptor, René de Saint-Marceau, and the bronze-caster, Ferdinand Barbedienne, to produce the statue in various sizes using the A. Collas mechanical reduction process.

F. Barbedienne proposed it for sale in various reduction sizes:

3/5 (Height: 103 cm; Depth: 39 cm), 1/2 (Height: 85 cm; Depth: 32 cm), 2/5 (Height: 69 cm; Depth: 0.26 m), 3/10 (Height: 51 cm; Depth: 19 cm), 1/4 (Height: 43 cm; Depth: 16 cm), 1/5 (Height: 34 cm; Depth: 13 cm).


René de Saint-Marceaux is a French sculptor born on September 23, 1845 in Reims (Marne), who moved to Paris in 1863 to study with sculptor François Jouffroy at the École des Beaux-Arts until 1869. During his studies, in 1868, he participated for the first time at the Paris Salon. The end of his academic career was marked by Michelangelo, whom he studied during a trip to Italy in 1869. He continued to studies from life in 1873-1874, traveling to Florence, then to Morocco and Spain between 1874 and 1879.

Known and recognized in particular for his Harlequin, he was finally elected as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1905.

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 ». In the catalogue of the Exhibition, Barbedienne was considered as the leader among 19th century bronze casters, because of the exquisite quality of his bronzes.

Achille Collas was a French engineer born in Paris in 1795, continuing his studies until 1814, when he joined the technical services of La Grande Armée. His main work, however, was on new engraving processes, including the Collas Process used for the Trésor de numismatique et de glyptique, designed by archaeologist Charles Lenormant and painter Paul Delaroche and published from 1831 by Goupil et Rittner, a work that won acclaim at the 1833 Salon. 

However, it was the invention of the pantograph, enabling any sculpture to be reproduced in any size, that made his company a success. Many artists turned to this new mechanical reduction process, such as the Venus de Milo or Harlequin, to distribute their works more widely.

This process ensured him a major place in 19th-century production, a position that was reinforced by his collaboration with Ferdinand Barbedienne from 1845 onwards. This collaboration was marked by a number of successes, including a first medal at the London World’s Fair in 1851 and then at the World’s Fair in 1855. The company continued to flourish after the death of Achille Collas.


Les Bronzes Barbedienne – L’oeuvre d’une dynastie de fondeurs (1834-1954), Florence Rionnet, Arthena, 2016

Contact us

    Tobogan Newsletter

    If you want to be up-to-date with our new acquirings you can sign up to our newsletter.

    Récemment consulté