bronze, warm to mid-brown patina on a serpentine column
Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié was one of the most celebrated sculptors of his generation. His masterpieces David après le combat and Gloria Victis were huge commercial successes, cast in numerous editions, and they remain emblematic of French 19th century sculpture. In La Toilette de Diane Mercié exhibits a more lyrical and pensive mood. The falling drapery reveals the goddess' beautiful form as she languidly stretches her arms up to arrange her hair. The original marble version for the model was shown at the Paris Salon in 1891. In contrast to the better-known David and Gloria Victis, the work was edited in very small numbers and the present bronze is exceedingly rare.
S. Lami, Dictionaire des sculpteurs de l'école française, Paris, 1919, vol III, p. 434; P. Fusco and H. Janson, The Romantics to Rodin, exh. cat. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1980, pp. 303-6
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