A patinated terracotta bust, "Chriemhilde" after a model by Albert-Ernst Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887) produced by Friedrich Goldscheider circa 1898/99
Inscribed to reverse REPRODUCTION RESERVEE / Friedrich Goldscheider Wien and numbered 1647 / 15/ 22. height 29 1/2in (75cm)
Chriemhilde (or Kriemhild) is one of the protagonists of the German medieval epic poem, "The Nibelungenlied." The sister of Gunter, king of the Burgundians, Chriemhilde weds Siegfried, the heroic dragon-slaying crown prince of Xanten. Due to a dispute between Chriemhilde and King Gunter's wife, Brünhild of Iceland, Siegfried is ignobly murdered by one of Gunter's vassals. Chriemhild, who blames her brother the King for the killing, travels east across the Danube, marries Attila the Hun, and plans her revenge against the Burgundians. The epic ends in a bloody slaughter of all of the Burgundians at the hand of Chriemhilde, and Chriemhilde's own death under the sword of the monk Hildebrand.
Freidrich Goldscheider, aware of the contemporary pre-eminence of French terracottas and in order to better compete in the French market, opened a factory on the rue de Paradis in Paris in 1891. He employed French artists to create the models he would produce there, including Charpentier, Alouard, Levasseur and Carrier-Belleuse. Because of the anti-German sentiment present in France during the decades following the Franco-Prussian War, Goldscheider attempted to make his productions (and even his artist's names) as Franco-sympathetic as possible. Thus, the present model was known on the French market as "Frédègonde," referring to a Merovingian queen in a French legend with some similarities to the Nibelungen saga.
Literature: Robert E. Dechant and Filipp Goldscheider, Goldscheider, History of the Company and Catalogue of Works, Arnoldsche, 2007, pp. 29-30; 51; 327 (cat. no. 1647)
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