Lot 43
  • 43

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse French, 1824 - 1887

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse
  • L'enlèvement d'Hippodamie
  • bronze, brown patina with green hue
  • height 26 in.
  • 66 cm


Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, ed. W. Smith, 1870, vol. 11, p. 721
June Hargrove, The Life and Work of Albert Carrier-Belleuse, New York and London, 1977, pp. 257-8, illustrated pl. 244
P. Fusco and H. Janson, The Romantics to Rodin, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1980, pp. 164-6, no. 50
Carrier-Belleuse, Le Maître de Rodin, exh. cat., Grand Palais de Compiègne, May 22-27, 2014, illustrated fig. 27

Catalogue Note

The dynamic and impressive tour de force rendered in this sculptural group depicts a famous scene drawn from Ovid: the climactic moment when the centaur Eurityon tries in vain to abduct Hippodamie, the bride of the King of the Lapiths—a peace-loving people of Thessaly. King Pirithous and his comrade Theseus, led the Lapiths to victory over the Centaurs in a battle known as the Centauromachy, a scene depicted through art history by masters including Sebastiano Ricci, Peter Paul Rubens and Piero di Cosimo.

In Fusco and Janson's seminal 1980 catalogue The Romantics to Rodin, June Hargrove speculates that Carrier-Belleuse's L'enlèvement d'Hippodamie was in fact partially modelled by the young Auguste Rodin. Rodin worked in Carrier-Belleuse's Brussels studio from 1864 to 1871 and the present model was conceived in the final year of his employment. This theory is reinforced by a catalogue entry for the National Gallery of Art's identical model in their permanent collection (bequest of William Nelson Cromwell fund, INV. 1977.58.1).

The narrative is reflected in the materiality of the sculpture: Carrier-Belleuse’s gentle, smooth surfaces and the sensuous pose of his female nude lay in stark contrast to the bulky musculature and brute strength of the centaur, possibly by Rodin. The difference in handling was not only employed to heighten the contrast between female and male, civility and bestiality, but also suggests that the model was a collaborative work. There are strong similarities between the impressionistic and powerful figure of the centaur Eurityon and Rodin’s later production of the four figures for his Vase des Titans, which was created from designs by his master, and bears Carrier-Belleuse’s signature.