19th & 20th Century Sculpture

19th & 20th Century Sculpture

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 7. Bacchante endormie (Sleeping Bacchante).

Charles Adrien Prosper d'Epinay

Bacchante endormie (Sleeping Bacchante)

Lot Closed

July 14, 10:07 AM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details


Charles Adrien Prosper d'Epinay


1836 - 1914

Bacchante endormie (Sleeping Bacchante)

signed and dated: d'Epinay / ROME / 1879 and inscribed: Fonderia Nelli. / Roma.

bronze, warm brown patina

44 by 65cm., 17¼ by 25½in.

This beautiful bronze represents a rare model by the celebrated Mauritian sculptor, Prosper d'Épinay. In her monograph on the sculptor, Patricia Roux-Foujols lists a marble Bacchante endormie, which was exhibited at Galerie Georges Petit, Paris in 1882 and is now untraced. The emergence of the present bronze, dated 1879, indicates that Prosper d'Épinay conceived the model in the late 1870s. Cast by the leading bronze foundry in Rome, Fonderia Nelli, the bronze is of superb quality and finish, with an attractive warm brown patina.

Depicted in a languid slumber, the reclining nude in the present model relates closely to two similar models by Prosper d'Épinay; his Marion, of which a terracotta version sold at Sotheby's London on 23 November 2010 (lot 81), and Le Rêve, which was also exhibited at Georges Petit in 1882; a terracotta version of the latter sold in these rooms on 11 July 2018 (lot 1). All three models appear to have been inspired by Henri Gervex's scandalous painting of the courtesan Marion from Alfred de Musset's poem, Rolla, which was excluded from the 1878 Salon on the grounds of being immoral. Prosper d'Épinay was clearly fascinated by the composition, and he reinterpreted it with an ethereal sensuality.

Prosper d'Épinay was born in Mauritius in 1836, the son of the prominent lawyer and politician, Adrien d'Épinay. In 1857 he moved to Paris to study caricature under the sculptor Jean-Pierre Dantan, and, from 1861, he worked in Rome for Luigi Amici. A British subject, he was active in London during the 1860s and 1870s, and, despite eventually settling in Paris, he continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy in London until as late as 1881.

P. Roux Foujols, Prosper d'Épinay (1836-1914): Un mauricien à la cour des princes, Ile Maurice, 1996, p. 90