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Jean-Baptiste-Jules Klagmann
1810 - 1867
FRENCH
NYMPHE ENDORMIE (SLEEPING NYMPH)
monogrammed: JK.
white marble
30 by 50cm., 12 by 19¾in.
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This beautiful marble of a nymph in a sensuous and languid pose is a rare excursion in this genre for a sculptor who is known mostly for his large-scale architectural and historical sculpture. The nymph, with elaborate plaited hairdo, is barely covered by carefully arranged folds of drapery. The smooth, creamy texture of her skin forms a striking contrast with the busy folds that envelop her legs, her hips suggestively only partially covered. 

The celebrated French sculptor Jean-Baptiste-Jules Klagmann was commissioned to execute important state monuments throughout his lifetime. Having entered the École des Beaux Arts in 1828, he exhibited extensively at the Paris Salon. Some of his most iconic works include a sculpture of Saint Clotilde, in the Jardin du Luxembourg, the figures on the monumental Fontaine Louvois on the Parisian Place Louvois, and the allegorical reliefs of Geometry and Astronomy on the Pavillon Mollien, one of the later wings of the Louvre. He was also responsible for the figures on the Ross Fountain, which stands beneath Edinburgh Castle, and for casting the gilt bronze theatre masks that adorn the Paris Opera. Klagmann was made a knight of the Legion d'Honneur in 1853, and exhibited several pieces of goldsmith work at the Exposition Universelle in 1855. He was buried at the famous Père Lachaise cemetery.  

The Nymphe Endormie was first exhibited by Klagmann in plaster at the Paris Salon in 1842. Although this petite freestanding marble is rare in his oeuvre, similarities can be seen with some of his most famous works. Compare, for example, the hair styles of the Geometry and Astronomy reliefs, and the elaborate drapery of his Saint Clotilde.

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