Bonhams European Fine Living Sale Features Rare Carpeaux Sculpture
A FRENCH CARVED MARBLE FIGURE: L'AMOUR À LA FOLIEJean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827-1875), circa 1873

L'Amour à la Folie (circa 1873), a rare stand-alone figure from French artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's famed sculpture group La Danse will lead Bonhams European Fine Living sale in Los Angeles on April 27. The figure comes from a Private Collection in Pebble Beach and is expected to realize $80,000 – 120,000.

In the 1860s Carpeaux was commissioned to create a group of sculptures depicting the dance of Bacchus for the façade of Paris's famed opera house, Palais Garnier. Upon its 1869 unveiling, La Danse was widely perceived as controversial due to the nakedness of the dancers, even leading to a vandalization of the work in August 1869, just a month after its installation. Despite a scandalous reception initially, the work remained on Palais Garnier and has since become a cornerstone in the history of French architecture. In a New York Tribune article from 1875, Henry James said of La Danse, "Every visitor to Paris has gazed at it in mingled admiration and perplexity, and it is a work which, so long as it stands there, will be sure to have gazers enough. If the whole building is characteristic of its time and place, Carpeaux's group is its most characteristic feature." To preserve it from pollution in 1964, La Danse was moved to the Louvre and is now in Musée d'Orsay.

Bonhams Specialist, Furniture and Decorative Arts, Anna Hicks said, "The Carpeaux sculpture in our April sale, L'Amour à la folie, is a rare edition produced by the artist as a stand-alone fragment of his most celebrated work, La Danse. On its own, L'Amour à la folie stands as a more traditional example of sculpture at the time than the group in its entirety. This lot, among many more from the Private Pebble Beach Collection are incredibly fresh to market, unseen at auction for decades."


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