Coutan had a highly successful career as a sculptor and designer, which began with his winning the Prix de Rome in 1871 whilst studying under Pierre-Jules Cavelier at the École des Beaux-Arts. He went on to contribute to the sculptural decoration of many of Paris' most important buildings such as the Hôtel de Ville and the Palais de Justice. His international portfolio included a pediment in New York's Grand Central Station and a monument to Carlos Pelligrini in Buenos Aires. He was Director of Design at the Sèvres Porcelain factory in the 1890's before replacing Falguière at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1900. Whilst in his time he was best known for his prestigious public commisions, the reduced versions of his allegorical groups, such as those appearing in this catalogue, secured a lasting private audience for his work.
The same model in 38 inches was sold, Sotheby's, London, June 12, 2006, Lot 13, £ 18,545.
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