Lot 88
  • 88


100,000 - 150,000 EUR
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Pomona
  • Avesne-Le-Sec limestone ; on an octagonal painted wood standsigned and dated G.L. Godecharle f. 1786
  • Pomona: 138 cm ; 54 1/3 in.


Eugène Kraemer collection, Paris ;
his sale Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 22 April 1913, lot 145 ;
bought in this sale for Gustave Dubar (1848-1921), shareholder and director of the daily newspaper Le Grand Echo du Nord et du Pas-de-Calais and grandfather of the present owner ;
private collection, North of France.


J. van Lennep, Catalogue de la Sculpture. Artistes nés entre 1750 et 1882, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, 1992, pp. 207-236.


Surface dirt is visible throughout, with some grey staining notably in the crevices and chips to the high points in some places and along the edges of the base, consistent with age and handling. There is a horizontal joint visible just below her breast through her proper right biceps and to her right shoulder which is filled. There are a few larger losses along the lower edge of the base. There is a restoration to her right wrist with a light cream slip. There are damages to her right thumb and left index finger. Her proper left hand appears to have been slightly retouched with a light cream slip. A few small losses are visible to the drapery with a few fillings. The tips of two toes may have been slightly retouched on her proper left foot. There are a few chips and small losses to the high points on the fruits and a few leaves may have been slightly restored.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

In addition to her dazzling beauty, the nymph Pomona – a deity withdrawn from the world – is known for her skill in mastering nature and her ability to cultivate fruit trees. The apple she holds in her hand is her most frequent attribute. Repelling amorous advances as she usually did, Pomona rejected Vertumnus, the god of seasons and fruit trees, who was madly in love with her. Cleverly disguised as an old woman, he finally succeeded in overcoming the nymph's reticence and gaining her trust. As soon as Pomona's heart was conquered by his tales of love, Vertumnus revealed his handsome face and won the nymph's love once and for all. Originally from Brussels, Godecharle trained in the workshop of Laurent Delvaux, the crucible of a new generation of Neoclassical Walloon sculptors. He was awarded an annual pension granted by Charles-Alexandre of Lorraine, Governor of the Austrian Netherlands. In 1772, he arrived in Paris where he joined the circle of Flemish sculptors gathered around Jean-Pierre-Antoine Tassaert while at the same time continuing his training under Pigalle at the Académie. In June 1775, he accompanied Tassaert to Berlin, where the latter had just been named sculptor to the court of Prussia, and then went on to Rome in 1778, after a short stay in London. Upon returning to Brussels the following year, he was appointed sculptor to the court of the Austrian governors and took part in the creation of numerous official monuments, including the seat of the Sovereign Council of Brabant (the current Palais de la Nation) to which he contributed the pediment depicting Justice Rewarding Virtue, Protecting the Weak and Banishing the Vices. A protégé of Albert of Saxony-Teschen, the new Governor of the Austrian Netherlands, he was commissioned to create the sculptures for his new palace at Laeken. Godecharle's activity during the revolutionary period is not documented and he made a number of visits to Paris under the Empire, where he made numerous copies of French sculptures for the decoration of parks, of which that of the château of Wespelaar is certainly his most important achievement and which occupied him until the end of his career.

 In 1786, when Godecharle sculpted this Pomona with its elegant lines, he was working full time for Albert of Saxony-Teschen (1738-1822), Governor-General of the Austrian Netherlands from 1790-1794, and his wife Maria-Christina of Austria (1742-1798), notably at the palace of Laeken before it fell under French control in 1794. The sculpture may hark back to Godecharle's early days; when the young man entered the studio of Laurent Delvaux, around 1768-69, the master was already at work on a Pomona and a Flora for the parterres of the palace of Charles-Alexandre of Lorraine in Brussels (today in the Parc Royal in Brussels).

The fine and closely gathered folds of the antique drapery masterfully coaxed from the stone by the sculptor and the softened Neoclassicism of Pomona – oscillating between a form of classical hieraticism and the graceful femininity of the nymph's figure – are comparable to those of Godecharle's allegories of Charity and Faith in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (inv. 611 and 6512). They are likewise comparable to the figures of Flora, around 1788, and Diana, around 1810, images of which are preserved on slides that can be consulted in the iconographic archive of the University of Leuven (Royal Palace of Laeken).

This work will be included in the monograph and catalogue raisonné of the work of Gille-Lambert Godecharle, currently being prepared by Alain Jacobs.