Lot 101
  • 101

Julien Dillens

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
75,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Julien Dillens
  • Kneeling Nude
  • signed: Jul. Dillens
  • white marble
  • 48cm., 18 7/8  in.


Sotheby's London, 2 June 2009, lot 53

Catalogue Note

Julien Dillens' Kneeling Nude was directly inspired by Lorenzo Bartolini's La Fiducia in Dio of 1835 (marble, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, inv. no. 1117). Dillens, who was trained at the Brussels Académie between 1861 and 1874, had worked under Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse on the sculptures for the Brussels Bourse in the early 1870s, and was subsequently employed as an assistant in Rodin's studio. The Kneeling Nude owes its inception to Dillens' four years spent as a Prix de Rome winner in Italy from 1877. His choice of La Fiducia in Dio as the basis for the present model was a natural one; his first major sculpture, Une Enigme, was also a seated female nude. He completed the Kneeling Nude not long after his return from Italy, exhibiting it for the first time in 1885 at the Exposition Universelle in Antwerp in a plaster version. The figure was exhibited numerous times during and after Dillens' lifetime. Notably it appeared at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, in a marble version. The original marble, in the larger size of 98cm., was acquired by the Belgian State from the artist and is in the collection of the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. That version includes roses fallen from the girl's cupped hands. The present figure is a rare marble reduction of the model. The reduction preserves the emotional intensity and quiet piety of the girl's manner, and in the smaller dimensions the marble has a jewel-like quality, both precious and tender. 

Julien Dillens. Exposition de ses oeuvres dans la Salle Forst, exh. cat. Salle Forst, Antwerp, 1906, p. 22-27; J. van Lennep et al, La sculpture Belge au 19ème siecle, exh. cat. Générale de Banque et les auteurs, Brussels, 1990, pp. 367-72; J. van Lennep, Catalogue de la sculpture. Artistes nés entre 1750 et 1882, cat. Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1992, p. 163; C. Engelen and M. Marx, Beeldhouwkunst in België vanaf 1830, Brussels, 2002, vol. I, pp. 595-8