The society portrait was his especial preserve, with a particular emphasis on the seated figure. The pose was an awkward proposition in three dimensions and in the relatively small dimensions of a statuette, but Troubetzkoy mastered it with aplomb and it became a trademark of his work. The present bronze is a fine example and can be compared to the well-known After the Ball, a portrait of Adelaide Aurnheimer, which the sitter won as a prize for the best costume at a ball in 1897. In these seated portraits the ease and informality of the pose allows the artist to capture the evanescent charm of a privileged age.
Instead of modelling in clay, Troubetzkoy prepared his figures using a non-drying compound of clay and wax called plastilene. It gave his finished works a great impression of immediacy. The present bronze is no exception. Troubetzkoy’s fluid modelling technique can be seen here in the swift and confident manipulation of the material, leaving clear thumb prints to be seen in the folds of drapery around the base.
The label on the underside of the present bronze indicates that the cast is from before 1913, when the first Secessione di Roma took place. The Secessione Romana was initiated by a group of artists who wanted to break free from the reigning aesthetic in the art world, and looked towards modernism and futurism. At the 1913 Secessione, Troubetzkoy had a room dedicated to him, which included 88 of his works.
Another version of the present model was sold in these rooms on 16 December 2015 as lot 130 (£87,500).
G. Piantoni et al., Paolo Troubetzkoy 1866-1938, exh. cat., Museo del Paesaggio, Verbania Pallanza, 1990, p. 223; O. Wooton, Prince Paul Troubetzkoy: The Belle Epoque Captured in Bronze, exh. cat. Sladmore Gallery, London, 2008, pp. 6-15, no. 5
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