1857 - 1912
signed: THEODORE RIVIERE, inscribed: Susse Fres Edt, stamped: SUSSE FRERES EDITEURS PARIS, further stamped: II and entitled: CARTHAGE
bronze, gilt patina
41.5cm., 16⅜in. high
Overall the condition of the bronze is very good with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age. There is very minor wear and a few minor dark marks to the patina.
"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."
P. Cadet, Susse Frères: 150 Years of Sculpture, Paris, 1992, p. 45
Théodore Rivière was an architect as well as a sculptor, and is best known as one of the leading Orientalist sculptors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Not only drawing inspiration from novels and texts, he also travelled extensively.
The present bronze, also known as Salammbo and Matho, illustrates a scene from Gustave Flaubert's famous novel Salammbô, published in 1862. Salammbo was the daughter of the Carthaginian chief Hamilcar Barca; the Libyan Matho, chief of the barbarian soldiers, fell fatally in love with her. The statuette shows Matho, mortally wounded, clasping on to Salammbo, exclaiming his love for her. Salammbo, portrayed as the ultimate femme fatale, watches stoically. The statuette created a stir on its first presentation at the Salon in 1895, and copies were made in different materials, including chryselephantine (see Musée d'Orsay, inv. no. RF2521) and biscuit. The present gilt bronze edition is a particularly elegant cast of the statuette.