JEAN-BAPTISTE, CALLED AUGUSTE CLÉSINGER
BUST OF FLORA
signed and dated: J. CLESINGER / Rome. 1861
white marble, on a serpentine and yellow marble column
bust: 74cm., 29⅛in.
column: 109.5cm., 43⅛in.
Overall the condition of the marble is very good, with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. A light wax has been applied to the marble, resulting in a sheen to the surface. There are a few very small chips, including to some leaves and the edges of the drapery at the front. There is some slight veining to the marble, consistent with the material. There are a few small naturally occurring inclusions, including a larger one below the proper right breast. Very minor abrasions to the edges of the socle.
The green marble column is in good condition with a few chips and some areas of fill to open veins.
"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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This allegorical bust of Flora encapsulates the Romantic Movement, reminiscent of the Rococo, in mid-19th century France. The smoothly sculpted surface contrasts with the delicate flowers, leaves, and refined locks of hair.
Lami records a bust entitled La Femme à la Rose (op. cit.) conceived in 1865 which may be identified with the present finely carved marble bust. Alternatively, another bust by Clésinger is recorded as Les Roses made in 1870, which is equally consistent with this model.
In 1832 Clésinger studied in the studio of Thorvaldsen in Rome. He first emerged in the Salon in 1847.
S. Lami, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l’école française, vol. 1, Paris, 1916, pp. 401-402