Alfred Gilbert:  Ignace Jan Paderewski, 1891 (cast 1934), Bronze, 60cm high, inscribed on base of ne

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Lot 120
Sir Alfred Gilbert, M.V.O., R.A. English (1854-1934)
An important patinated bronze bust of Ignace Jan Paderewski, modelled in 1891, cast in 1934,

Sold for £ 48,000 (US$ 66,438) inc. premium

Sculpture

15 Apr 2008, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Sir Alfred Gilbert, M.V.O., R.A. English (1854-1934)
An important patinated bronze bust of Ignace Jan Paderewski, modelled in 1891, cast in 1934,
signed and inscribed to the base of the neck, 60cm high (23" high)

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Gifted from Sir Alfred Gilbert's studio after his death in November 1934 by his executor, Gerald Keith, to Gilbert's grandson Cecil, and thence by direct descent to the present vendors.

    Exhibited: Royal Academy of Arts, 1986.

    Executed in one sitting and completed in just two hours whilst Paderewski played the piano in his studio, the end result captures the spontaneity and energy of both sculptor and sitter. Gilbert's virtuoso skill as a bronze founder and goldsmith earned him the title of "the Benvenuto Cellini of this age" from Frederick, Lord Leighton, president of the Royal Academy. In this bust Gilbert is responding to the influence of Dalou's strong ideas of realism but also reflecting the keen interest in the 1880s for outstanding lost wax castings, a passion shared in Italy by Vincenzo Gemito, whose work this bronze clearly evokes.

    The bust of the famous Polish pianist and dignitary was executed at the request of Charlotte Gilbert, the artist's mother on 13 July 1891. Gilbert's son Francis later recalled that 'father never gave any serious thought to this unfinished work and thus it became grandfathers and grandmothers property at no.14 Maida Vale'. Although a full size bust was not cast until 1934, Gilbert went on to make a plaster reduction in the 1890's for Paderewski's patron Lady Lewis. At this time he also gave permission for a bronze to be cast from this reduced plaster (Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery).

    The original plaster bust went into storage at Maples warehouse from 1909 (after Charlotte Gilbert's death) and remained there until around 1930. It was then returned to the artist who was living in Kensington Palace until his death in 1934. The bust was then purchased by Mrs Hadley, the wealthy wife of Gilbert's doctor. It appears at this point that the bust was cast in bronze; another version of which was then exhibited at the Royal Academy and subsequently sold to The Chantrey Bequest to raise money for a lifetime fund for Gilbert.

    The Chantrey Bequest

    In 1875, the Royal Academy received under the will of Sir F. L. Chantrey RA, a vast sum of money - 105,000 pounds. This was invested by five trustees, and the income each year was handed over to the Academy to purchase works of art - painting and sculpture - executed within the shores of Great Britain. The idea was to build up a national collection of British Art.

    Sir Alfred Gilbert M.V.O. R.A.(1854-1934)

    At the time of his death in 1934, Gilbert was one of the most famous men in Britain; so much so that a memorial service was held at St Paul's Cathedral and plans were made for a biopic film of his colourful life.

    Following his scholarship at The Royal Academy (1873-1875), Gilbert was mentored by the Hungarian sculptor Edgar Boehm under whose influence, Gilbert developed a sensuous and tactile approach. Following a period at The Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, Gilbert moved to Italy, living in Rome and then Florence in the early 1880's which provided the inspiration to produce his famous works 'Icarus' and 'Perseus Arming'.

    His return to England in 1884 marked the beginning of a period in which he received great acclaim, financial success and with it a certain notoriety in social circles. His most important commission began with the Fawcett monument at Westminster Cathedral (1885-1887) and was followed by the Winchester Jubilee Memorial to Queen Victoria (1887, Great Hall of Winchester Castle, Winchester). The Shaftesbury Memorial at Picadilly Circus (1886) otherwise know as Eros, marks the high point in his career. Thereafter, racked with financial difficulties, overburdened with too many projects and seemingly unable to complete commissions, Gilbert's fortunes reversed.

    Ignacy Jan Paderewski,(1860-1941)

    Paderewski studied at the Warsaw Musical Institute and with many Eastern European teachers, became one of Poland's world renowned pianists and composers. Although his own compositions are well known, he was widely praised for his renditions of Chopin. In addition to delighting Poland and the world with his music for over 50 years, Paderewski also became one of Poland's great statesmen. At the beginning of World War I, Paderewski founded a committee to assist the people of Poland and established branches in Paris, London and throughout the United States.


    Related Literature:
    Richard Dorment, Alfred Gilbert: Sculptor and Goldsmith, nos. 30, p.123, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1986.

    Adrian Bury, Shadow of Eros, Drogmore Press 1952
Alfred Gilbert:  SIR ALFRED GILBERT, M.V.O., R.A. (1854-1934) Ignace Jan Paderewski, 1891 (cast 1934
Alfred Gilbert:  Ignace Jan Paderewski, 1891 (cast 1934), Bronze, 60cm high, inscribed on base of ne
Alfred Gilbert:  Ignace Jan Paderewski, 1891 (cast 1934), Bronze, 60cm high, inscribed on base of ne
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