The highlight of the auction was a life-size terracotta masterpiece by French sculptor Aimé-Jules Dalou, which was acquired by the National Museum of Canada and achieved a record for the artist at auction, at £362,500.
Erik Bijzet, Head of Auction Sales, European Sculpture & Works of Art, said: “We are delighted that the terracotta by Dalou was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada. The sculpture is one of the artist’s defining masterpieces and a wonderful museum piece. Elsewhere in the sale, there is a clear pattern of growth at the top end of the market for 19th century sculpture. Overall, we saw strong results for works in terracotta, not only for the beautifully tender and exquisitely realised life-size Dalou, but also for a group of pieces by Carrier-Belleuse. Nine of the top 10 lots comprise female figures and nudes, either conceived in marble, bronze or terracotta, demonstrating the continued interest in the finest examples available on the market today.”
May 2014 sees the return of Sotheby’s 19th and 20th Century Sculpture sale. Alongside the 19th Century Paintings sale, Sotheby’s will present important marble, bronze and terracotta sculpture dating from 1800 to circa 1940. Leading this auction will be one of the most important sculptures ever offered in this category, Aimé-Jules Dalou’s monumental terracotta Boulonnaise allaitant from Westport House, Ireland, a masterpiece of French Realist sculpture.
Other highlights from the 19th century include a major marble bust by famous ethnographic sculptor Charles Henri Joseph Cordier and Emilio Zocchi’s large marble representation of the Young Christopher Columbus. Among the 20th-century pieces are works by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, Ivan Mestrovic and a newly discovered monumental bronze cast of theYoung Diana by the female American sculptor Janet Scudder.