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20th Century Design

Visions in Bronze

The collection of bronzes belonging to Ginette and Alain Lesieutre is an excellent illustration to the question and answer raised by Dominique Vaugeois in 2003: "Where is there art... The work of art is only a work by virtue of its ability to free itself from a context that it never completely denies..." On 29 June, this collection will be dispersed by Sotheby's France.

The bronze copies which constitute most of the collection were made by four internationally renowned sculptors: Antoine-Louis Barye (1795–1875), Jules Dalou (1838–1902), François Pompon (1855–1933) and Rembrandt Bugatti (1884–1916). Artistically, the 19th century is a fundamental era in which the bronze copy or multiple reaches its apogee.

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JULES DALOU, NYMPHE ET FAUNE (LE BAISER). ESTIMATE: €8,000–12,000.

Antoine-Louis Barye, the greatest of romantic sculptors, was one of the most prolific of these. In 1854, Barye was appointed professor of zoological drawing at the Natural History Museum, after triumphing in the Salons. His attraction to exoticism, his passion ‘for foreign worlds’ enthused the whole of society and Barye was a perfect illustration of this craze. Barye knew the anatomy of his animals as a surgeon might, and in his studio he kept prints of claws, skulls and jaw-bones.

Breaking completely with the tenets of academicism, Antoine-Louis Barye opened a foundry and distributed his own considerable production, using the techniques of his time. After he died, the whole of his studio was sold at public auction in Paris in 1876. The art dealer Brame and the publisher Barbedienne brought a large number of models. Their original casts bore the seal of Barbediennethe letters FB on a yellow rectangular background. The works by Barye in the collection of Ginette and Alain Lesiuetre reflect all of these different eras, privileging very detailed relief, the quality of the sand casting and the colour of the patina for each of the models on display.

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FRANÇOIS POMPON, COQ DORMANT. ESTIMATE: €20,000–30,000.

At the start of the twentieth century the smelter A.A. Hébrard (1865-1937) ran contrary to the great distribution of bronze copies and combined art and industry, giving a new and revolutionary meaning to multiply-produced statuary: an art object becomes a work of art by virtue of an industrial process, and the work of art gives the object its creative impulse. Thus the ‘reproducibility’ is asserted as an essential property of the work without meaning that it loses its ‘aura’, its organic, original and authentic character. Hébrard put this new dynamic to work for all the foundry-based work that he supported: lost-wax casting in bronze or silver, ceramics, enamels, glasswork. To meet this challenge, in 1902 he became a publisher and art dealer, imposing a strictly limited and numbered production, making some bronzes as unique pieces and choosing to make only a very small number of miniature models, applying legal ideas of exclusive contracts, reproduction and exploitation rights, and living most of the time of the artists whose works he published.

 

The collection of Ginette and Alain Lesieutre is exceptional in more than one respect: in terms of the number of statuettes shown at public auction, in terms of the diversity of the intimiste or committed subjects that reveal the work of this sculptor recently shown at the Musée du Petit Palais, and in terms of the extraordinary quality of the lost-wax casts of A.A. Hébrard.

Hébrard put his ideas, his contacts and his fortune at the service of multiple production. The Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti remained his great discovery. Hébrard would be his first collector, while also being his dealer and his exclusive publisher. Until 1934 Hébrard would also play a determining role in the knowledge and fistribution of the work of another great animal sculptor who was still misunderstood at the time: François Pompon. They would have to wait for the 21st century until the two major artists were brought together at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

 

In the early years of the 20th century, some thirty years after Barye’s death, the young Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti entered the Menagery of the Jardin des Plantes.

For the first time, Rembrandt Bugatti was able to study wild animals. For fifteen years Bugatti lived with them between Paris and Antwerp, not in a spirit of classification or imagination as in the 19th century, but to observe them for a long time, one by one, to study and decipher their behaviour, their signals their sounds, their attitudes, each in their own sensory world. His sculpture was enriched by that daily contact, that exchange, that dialogue, that sharing, that communion, that fusion with wild or domestic animals. As collectors, for thirty years, Ginette and Alain Lesieutre constituted one of the finest collections in the world devoted to the sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti.

 

At the start of the twentieth century the smelter A.A. Hébrard (1865-1937) ran contrary to the great distribution of bronze copies and combined art and industry, giving a new and revolutionary meaning to multiply-produced statuary: an art object becomes a work of art by virtue of an industrial process, and the work of art gives the object its creative impulse. Thus the ‘reproducibility’ is asserted as an essential property of the work without meaning that it loses its ‘aura’, its organic, original and authentic character. Hébrard put this new dynamic to work for all the foundry-based work that he supported: lost-wax casting in bronze or silver, ceramics, enamels, glasswork. To meet this challenge, in 1902 he became a publisher and art dealer, imposing a strictly limited and numbered production, making some bronzes as unique pieces and choosing to make only a very small number of miniature models, applying legal ideas of exclusive contracts, reproduction and exploitation rights, and living most of the time of the artists whose works he published.

 

The collection of Ginette and Alain Lesieutre is exceptional in more than one respect: in terms of the number of statuettes shown at public auction, in terms of the diversity of the intimiste or committed subjects that reveal the work of this sculptor recently shown at the Musée du Petit Palais, and in terms of the extraordinary quality of the lost-wax casts of A.A. Hébrard.

Hébrard put his ideas, his contacts and his fortune at the service of multiple production. The Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti remained his great discovery. Hébrard would be his first collector, while also being his dealer and his exclusive publisher. Until 1934 Hébrard would also play a determining role in the knowledge and fistribution of the work of another great animal sculptor who was still misunderstood at the time: François Pompon. They would have to wait for the 21st century until the two major artists were brought together at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

 

In the early years of the 20th century, some thirty years after Barye’s death, the young Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti entered the Menagery of the Jardin des Plantes.

For the first time, Rembrandt Bugatti was able to study wild animals. For fifteen years Bugatti lived with them between Paris and Antwerp, not in a spirit of classification or imagination as in the 19th century, but to observe them for a long time, one by one, to study and decipher their behaviour, their signals their sounds, their attitudes, each in their own sensory world. His sculpture was enriched by that daily contact, that exchange, that dialogue, that sharing, that communion, that fusion with wild or domestic animals. As collectors, for thirty years, Ginette and Alain Lesieutre constituted one of the finest collections in the world devoted to the sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti.

 

At the start of the twentieth century the smelter A.A. Hébrard (1865-1937) ran contrary to the great distribution of bronze copies and combined art and industry, giving a new and revolutionary meaning to multiply-produced statuary: an art object becomes a work of art by virtue of an industrial process, and the work of art gives the object its creative impulse. Thus the ‘reproducibility’ is asserted as an essential property of the work without meaning that it loses its ‘aura’, its organic, original and authentic character. Hébrard put this new dynamic to work for all the foundry-based work that he supported: lost-wax casting in bronze or silver, ceramics, enamels, glasswork. To meet this challenge, in 1902 he became a publisher and art dealer, imposing a strictly limited and numbered production, making some bronzes as unique pieces and choosing to make only a very small number of miniature models, applying legal ideas of exclusive contracts, reproduction and exploitation rights, and living most of the time of the artists whose works he published.

 

The collection of Ginette and Alain Lesieutre is exceptional in more than one respect: in terms of the number of statuettes shown at public auction, in terms of the diversity of the intimiste or committed subjects that reveal the work of this sculptor recently shown at the Musée du Petit Palais, and in terms of the extraordinary quality of the lost-wax casts of A.A. Hébrard.

Hébrard put his ideas, his contacts and his fortune at the service of multiple production. The Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti remained his great discovery. Hébrard would be his first collector, while also being his dealer and his exclusive publisher. Until 1934 Hébrard would also play a determining role in the knowledge and fistribution of the work of another great animal sculptor who was still misunderstood at the time: François Pompon. They would have to wait for the 21st century until the two major artists were brought together at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

 

In the early years of the 20th century, some thirty years after Barye’s death, the young Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti entered the Menagery of the Jardin des Plantes.

For the first time, Rembrandt Bugatti was able to study wild animals. For fifteen years Bugatti lived with them between Paris and Antwerp, not in a spirit of classification or imagination as in the 19th century, but to observe them for a long time, one by one, to study and decipher their behaviour, their signals their sounds, their attitudes, each in their own sensory world. His sculpture was enriched by that daily contact, that exchange, that dialogue, that sharing, that communion, that fusion with wild or domestic animals. As collectors, for thirty years, Ginette and Alain Lesieutre constituted one of the finest collections in the world devoted to the sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti.

 

At the start of the twentieth century the smelter A.A. Hébrard (1865–1937) ran contrary to the great distribution of bronze copies and combined art and industry, giving a new and revolutionary meaning to multiply-produced statuary: an art object becomes a work of art by virtue of an industrial process, and the work of art gives the object its creative impulse. Thus the ‘reproducibility’ is asserted as an essential property of the work without meaning that it loses its 'aura', its organic, original and authentic character. Hébrard put this new dynamic to work for all the foundry-based work that he supported: lost-wax casting in bronze or silver, ceramics, enamels, glasswork. To meet this challenge, in 1902 he became a publisher and art dealer, imposing a strictly limited and numbered production, making some bronzes as unique pieces and choosing to make only a very small number of miniature models, applying legal ideas of exclusive contracts, reproduction and exploitation rights, and living most of the time of the artists whose works he published.

The collection of Ginette and Alain Lesieutre is exceptional in more than one respect: in terms of the number of statuettes shown at public auction, in terms of the diversity of the intimiste or committed subjects that reveal the work of this sculptor recently shown at the Musée du Petit Palais, and in terms of the extraordinary quality of the lost-wax casts of A.A. Hébrard.

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REMBRANDT BUGATTI, LÉOPARD MARCHANT , CIRCA 1911. ESTIMATE: €200,000–300,000.

Hébrard put his ideas, his contacts and his fortune at the service of multiple production. The Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti remained his great discovery. Hébrard would be his first collector, while also being his dealer and his exclusive publisher. Until 1934 Hébrard would also play a determining role in the knowledge and fistribution of the work of another great animal sculptor who was still misunderstood at the time: François Pompon. They would have to wait for the 21st century until the two major artists were brought together at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. In the early years of the 20th century, some thirty years after Barye's death, the young Italian sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti entered the Menagery of the Jardin des Plantes.

For the first time, Rembrandt Bugatti was able to study wild animals. For fifteen years Bugatti lived with them between Paris and Antwerp, not in a spirit of classification or imagination as in the 19th century, but to observe them for a long time, one by one, to study and decipher their behaviour, their signals their sounds, their attitudes, each in their own sensory world. His sculpture was enriched by that daily contact, that exchange, that dialogue, that sharing, that communion, that fusion with wild or domestic animals. As collectors, for thirty years, Ginette and Alain Lesieutre constituted one of the finest collections in the world devoted to the sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti. 

 

MAIN IMAGE: FRANÇOIS POMPON, COQ DORMANT. ESTIMATE: €20,000–30,000.

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