T he only dedicated sale of its kind in the auction world, 19th & 20th Century Sculpture presents a diverse and exciting selection of marbles, bronzes and terracottas from the neoclassical, romantic, and early modernist periods. This December’s sale is led by a magnificent bronze portrait by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, alongside a beautifully carved marble Cupid by the renowned Belgian sculptor Charles-Auguste Fraikin. The auction is further distinguished by an important private collection of equine animalier bronzes and a group of exquisite marbles from the collection of a nobleman. We invite you to explore a selection of highlights from the sale below.
An important rediscovery in the oeuvre of one of Belgium’s foremost Romantic sculptors, lot 30 is almost certainly the marble exhibited as La barque de l’Amour at the Brussels salon in 1863. The superbly carved figure of Cupid on a shell is a testament to the sculptor’s thematic ingenuity as well as his exceptional technical skill. Fraikin delights in surface texturing to distinguish between the putto’s soft flesh, the ample plumage of his wings, and the rippled layers of the scallop shell.
The art of animalier bronzes flourished in France from the 1830s. The genre ranges from Romantic images of exotic animals in the wild to models of domestic animals and country sports. This private collection focuses on equine bronzes and is distinguished by the outstanding quality of the casts and the beauty of the patinas. The group has been formed by a collector with a passion for racing and an expert eye for exceptional horses as much as for exceptional bronzes.
Dubbed ‘the most astonishing sculptor of modern times’ by George Bernhard Shaw, Prince Paul Troubetzkoy was among the most significant proponents of Impressionism in sculpture. He was particularly noted for his society portraits, which rival the elegant hauteur of John Singer Sargent’s paintings. The present sale includes a superb cast of Troubetzkoy’s magnificent portrait of Adelaide Aurnheimer (After the Ball), which epitomises the sculptor’s distinctive aesthetic.
This exquisite selection of sculpture from a private collection showcases the art of marble carving at its finest. The delicate sensitivity with which Romantic sculptors made use of the chisel is illustrated beautifully in two portraits by Aristide Fontana, and the charming allegorical figures of Winter by Paul-Joseph-Raymond Gayrard and La Cigale by Jean Jules Cambos, which form the highlights of this group.