A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873

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Lot 78W
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIE
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873

Sold for US$ 81,562 inc. premium

European Fine Living

27 Apr 2021, 10:00 PDT

Los Angeles

Property from a Private Pebble Beach Collection
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIE
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
On marble pedestal.
height of putti 30in (76.2cm); overall height 78in (198cm); width 27in (69cm); depth 18in (46cm)

Footnotes

  • Please note the following additional information:


    According to the Allée family, this Carpeaux was purchased directly from the artist by a relative in the late 19th century, and passed down through generations since. The Alleé family sold the piece to the current owner.
    Literature
    Poletti, Michael & Richarme, Alain, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux: Sculpture: Catalogue raisonné De L'oeuvre édité, Les Éditions De L'Amateur, 2003, pp. 52–53.

    Provenance
    Acquired by the current owner from Galerie Yann Allée
    This marble remained in the Alee family for several generations until recently.

    Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827 – 1875) was a French sculptor and painter during the Second Empire under Napoleon III. François Rude conducted Carpeaux's early studies, and in 1844 Carpeaux entered the École des Beaux-Arts. Winning the Prix de Rome in 1854 markedly influenced his career, and between 1854 and 1861, the sculptor lived in Rome, studying the works of Michelangelo, Donatello, and Verrocchio. Developing a taste for Renaissance and Baroque movement, Carpeaux grew tired of academism and pursued real subjects in the streets of Rome. Debuts at the Salon and a bust of Princess Mathilde garnered the attention of Paris and Napoleon III himself, bringing Carpeaux grand commissions and allowing him to open his own atelier in 1866. Here, Carpeaux could produce work on a greater scale while his brother, Emile, managed the business side.

    Translated as 'Love to madness', L'Amour à la folie's original design was a part of the larger sculptural group, La Danse, for the Opéra Garnier, commissioned by the building's architect Charles Garnier. Opéra Garnier, or Palais Garnier, was built in the 9th arrondissement of Paris under the Napoleon III's request, between 1861 and 1875. Carpeaux's figural group is one of nine decorating the building, alongside works by sculptors such as François Jouffroy and Jean-Joseph Perraud. Carpeaux's group sits at the base of the third from left avant-corps.

    La Danse is based on the dance of Bacchus and comprises an allegorical figure of dance encircled by five dancing nymphs. The composition took Carpeaux three years to make, using actresses and dancers from the Palais-Royale as models. Carpeaux's time in Rome and study of Renaissance artists inspired his taste for movement and spontaneity, giving the dancing group a certain careless jubilance and pleasure -- divergent from the classical ballet performed inside the theater. The tipsy smiles and consciously naked dancers were a far cry from contemporaneous idealized Neoclassical sculptures. The normalcy of their bodies and unrestrained honesty and intimacy of the figures caused an uproar amongst Parisians of this time.

    At the Opera's unveiling in July 1869, Carpeaux's work was widely criticized for these unabashedly naked bodies. Controversy over whether respectable ladies could even pass this public sculpture was discussed and in August of the same year, an anonymous vandal hurled black ink at the piece. The sculpture's scandal was soon forgotten after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in July 1870 and Carpeaux's death in 1875.

    The original sculptural group is a complex composition -- the putto lounges at the feet of the Genius of Dance in the center of the group, partially obscured by the bacchantes. The putto reclines playfully on his side, supporting himself on one arm while the other is stretched out to the sky, holding a puppet, encouraging the dancers to continue. On the oval base beneath the putto sits other symbols of love – a quiver, arrows, and fallen roses.

    To increase profits, Emile convinced his brother to produce separate editions of fragments of his larger figural groups -- a trick also used by Rodin. La Danse, for example, cost three times the commission granted for the piece. L'Amour à la folie's was therefore created as a stand-alone work for sale to subsidize the cost of La Danse. Existing on its own, the putto became a more traditional work, emulating Pigalle's practice of sculpting children. The putto retains the same delight and ecstasy as the other figures but was certainly less scandalous than the bacchante dancers, making the piece a popular composition.

    A few versions of L'Amour à la folie's remain in institutions today. Another marble example is preserved at the Musée Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (inv. 563). Two remain in Paris -- a bronze example at the Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, and a terracotta edition at the Musée d'Orsay (RF2928). The Museo Sounmaya, Mexico City, has both a terracotta and bronze model (inv. 274).

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the following additional information:
    According to the Allée family, this Carpeaux was purchased directly from the artist by a relative in the late 19th century, and passed down through generations since. The Alleé family sold the piece to the current owner.
Contacts
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873
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