View full screen - View 1 of Lot 143. Nelusko and Selika | Nelusko et Selika.
143

Luigi Pagani

Nelusko and Selika | Nelusko et Selika

Estimate:

120,000 - 180,000 EUR

Luigi Pagani

Luigi Pagani

Nelusko and Selika | Nelusko et Selika

Nelusko and Selika | Nelusko et Selika

Estimate:

120,000 - 180,000 EUR

Luigi Pagani

1837 - 1904

Nelusko and Selika

circa 1871


a pair of white marble busts, with patinated bronze heads

each signed, dated and located Pagani Luigi/fece 1871 Milano

H. 97,8 cm, 38½ in. ; L. 87,6 cm, 34½ in.


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Luigi Pagani

1837 - 1904

Nelusko et Selika

vers 1871


paire de bustes en marbre blanc, les têtes en bronze patiné

signés, datés et localisés Pagani Luigi/fece 1871 Milano

H. 97,8 cm, 38½ in. ; L. 87,6 cm, 34½ in.


(2)

To request a Condition Report for this Lot, please contact ulrike.goetz@sothebys.com.


Please note: Condition XVI of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot. (Veuillez noter que l'Article XVI des Conditions Générales de Vente applicables aux Vendeurs (Ventes Effectuées Exclusivement en Ligne) n'est pas applicable pour ce lot.)


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Collections of Peter Glenville and Hardy William Smith;

Christie's, New York, 28 October 2003, lot 170;

Christie’s, London, 9 July 2015, lot 15 (sold 242 500 £).

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Collection de Peter Glenville et Hardy William Smith ;

Christie's, New York, 28 octobre 2003, lot 170 ;

Christie’s, Londres, 9 juillet 2015, lot 15 (vendu 242 500 £).

The Exhibition of the Royal Academy, 1872, The 104th., 1872, p. 60.

A. Panzetta, Nuovo dizionario degli scultori italiani dell’octticento e del primo novecento, Turin, 2003, p. 674.

Royal Academy, London, 1872, nos. 1509 (Nelusko) and 1510 (Selika)

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Royal Academy, Londres, 1872, nos. 1509 (Nelusko) et 1510 (Selika)

Born in Bergamo in 1839, Luigi Pagani trained at the Accademia di Brera in Milan with Benedetto Cacciatori (1794-1871), a sculptor originally from Carrara – where he was a pupil of Lorenzo Bartolini – who had produced works for the Milan Duomo. After receiving many awards in his own country, from 1870 Pagani began to contribute actively to international exhibitions. In 1872 he exhibited this superb pair of busts in the Central Hall of the Royal Academy in London, as nos. 1509 and 1510.


Combining white marble with patinated bronze, the busts represent Nelusko and Selika, protagonists of L’Africaine, an opera by the German composer Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864). Very popular in the decades following its first performance in Paris in 1865, the opera is an account of the capture of Nelusko and Selika, sovereigns of an imaginary far-off land, by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. Meyerbeer’s work enjoyed such popularity that the Italian sculptor Pietro Calvi (1833-1884) also showed a bust of Selika at the same Royal Academy exhibition (no. 1525).


In the combination of materials used, as well as the theme of non-Western figures, these two busts are perfect examples of ethnographic sculpture in the second half of the nineteenth century. Although they portray fictional characters, these works reflect the trend initiated by Charles Cordier and the series of polychrome busts he produced from 1850 for the new ethnographic galleries of the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

With their romantic vision of African and Oriental cultures, both Cordier and Pagani emphasized the dignity of their subjects and attached much importance to costume. The present busts are remarkable for the detailed depiction of the materials represented, especially the feathers of the figures’ headdresses and the fur of their robes.


This pair of busts is the only one signed and dated by Pagani. A second pair, now in the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum (Bournemouth, inv. nos. SC22 and SC20), closely comparable to the present pair but without the names of the sovereigns inscribed on cartouches, was formerly attributed to Pietro Calvi. Finally, an undated bust of Selika alone was sold in London in 2012 (Bonham’s 5 July 2012).


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Né à Bergame en 1839, Luigi Pagani se forme à l’Académie de Brera à Milan auprès de Benedetto Cacciatori (1794-1871), sculpteur originaire de Carrare et élève de Lorenzo Bartolini, ayant participé au chantier du Duomo de Milan. Après avoir reçu de nombreuses récompenses dans son pays, Pagani participe activement à partir de 1870 à des expositions internationales. Ainsi, il présente en 1872 cette superbe paire de bustes sous les numéros 1509 et 1510 au Central Hall de la Royal Academy de Londres.


Alliant le marbre blanc au bronze patiné, les bustes représentent Nelusko et Selika, protagonistes de l’Africaine, opéra du compositeur allemand Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864). Très populaire durant les décennies suivant sa première représentation à Paris en 1865, l’opéra relate la capture de Nelusko et Selika, souverains d’une contrée lointaine par le navigateur portugais Vasco de Gama. La reconnaissance dont jouit l’œuvre de Meyerbeer est telle que le sculpteur italien Pietro Calvi (1833-1884) présente également lors de ce cette même exposition à la Royal Academy un buste de Sélika (numéro 1525).


Par la combinaison de ses matériaux, ainsi que par son sujet évoquant des figures extra-occidentales, ces deux bustes sont de parfaits exemplaires de la sculpture ethnographique de la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle. En effet, bien que représentant des personnages fictifs, ces œuvres s’inscrivent dans la tendance initiée par Charles Cordier et la série de bustes polychromes qu’il réalise à partir de 1850 pour les nouvelles galeries ethnographiques du Museum d’histoire naturelle.


S’inscrivant dans une vision romantique des cultures africaines et orientales, Cordier tout comme Pagani confèrent une forte dignité à leurs sujets et attachent une grande importance aux costumes. Ainsi, nos bustes sont remarquables dans la minutie des matières, en particulier les plumes des coiffes et la fourrure des manteaux.


Notre paire de bustes est la seule signée et daté par Pagani. Une seconde paire aujourd’hui conservée au Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum (Bornemouth, inv. no SC22 & SC20), très proche de la nôtre mais ne portant pas les noms des souverains indiqués sur les cartouches, était anciennement attribuée à Pietro Calvi. Enfin, un buste de Selika seule, non, daté fut vendu à Londres en 2012 (Bonham’s 5 juillet 2012).