Lot 103
  • 103

Circle of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse

70,000 - 100,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse
  • nymph and satyr
  • white marble, on grey marble base and painted wood socle

Catalogue Note

The great nineteenth-century sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse produced a number of models on the theme of nymph and satyr. Perhaps the best known is his Bacchanale of 1868, which depicts the brutal capture of a young nymph by a satyr. Carrier-Belleuse's bacchic groups reference French eighteenth century sculpture and its fascination with the antique, the sculptor even described the pieces as his 'genre de Clodion'. Whilst clearly influenced by Carrier-Belleuse the present marble exhibits a gentler spirit than his Bacchanale. Rather than concentrating on the violence and debauchery of the subject, the sculptor takes the opportunity to contrast the powerful and lascivious satyr against the delicateness and innocence of the nymph. Youth is set against age, and beauty against the grotesque. The conclusion of the narrative is not certain: the nymph removes the satyr's embracing arm, resisting the supplicating gesture of his right hand.

Carrier-Belleuse's sphere of influence was vast. His large workshop employed a number of sculptor's who went on to become well-known in their own right, including Alexandre Falguière, Joseph Chéret, the artist's son Louis Carrier-Belleuse and most famously Auguste Rodin. He taught at the Académie Julian and, as he had a gregarious and generous temperament, he also fostered the careers of a number of sculptors, some of whom became personal friends, such as Henri Allouard. Whilst it has not been possible to conclusively identify the sculptor of the present work, Allouard may be suggested as he was a dexterous marble carver and he produced a number of works on a bacchanalian theme.  The artist's son might also be suggested, as he worked very closely on his father's Bacchanale, even signing the marble version in the Petit Palais.

J. Hargrove, The Life and Work of Albert Carrier-Belleuse, New York and London, 1977, pp. 234-247