French Silvered Bronze Sculpture of "Penelope" by Pierre Cavelier
PIERRE JULES CAVELIER (FRENCH, 1814-94) SILVERED BRONZE SCULPTURE OF “PENELOPE”
Almost certainly cast by F. Barbedienne foundry, retaining A. Collas reduction seal and monagrammed seal impressed “J. Cavelier 258"
Item # 609LPV19P
This is a precious little antique bronze sculpture by Pierre Jules Cavelier, originally exhibited at Salon in 1842 as Femme Grecque Edormie in plaster, was later exhibited in 1849 as a marble sculpture under the title of Penelope. It was cast almost exclusively by the foundry of Ferdinand Barbedienne and is the only Cavelier sculpture to appear in their 1886 catalog in five reductions after the original. His works are quite scarce, only two sculptures being catalogued in Berman's extensive reference work (vol. III). The sculpture is a highly detailed sand cast example, expertly tooled and finished with a silver patina set against a rubbed bronze accent in the base and chair. The side of the seat is impressed with a seal typical of Cavelier, noting it as number 258.
Pierre Jules Cavelier was born in August of 1814 and studied under both P. Delaroche and David D'Angers at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts after his entry in 1831. In 1836 he won second prize at the Prix de Rome for his model of Death of Socrates and with his sculpture of Diomedes Removing the Image of the Goddes Pallas Athene from the Citadel of Troy he attained the Prix de Rome in 1842. He was awarded two bronze medals (1842 and 1855) and the medal of honor in 1849, 1853, and 1861. He later was appointed to a professorship at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1864. After returning from a five year stay in Rome, he was awarded commissions from the Louvre for the caryatids and crown of the Turgot Pavilion along with several other impressive decorative elements of the Louvre. Furthermore, he received commissions for city hall, the Opera, the Palais Galliera, the churches of Notre Dame and many other notable Parisian buildings. Ultimately he was elected to membership of the Institut des Beaux-Arts in 1865.
- E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, vol. III, Grund, p. 621-22
- Catalogue des Bronzes d'Art, F. Barbedienne, 1886, p. 41
- Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Kjellberg, p. 198
Measurements: 13 1/2” H x 11” W x 8 1/2” D (total); 11 3/4” H x 9 1/2” W x 6 1/4” D (bronze; not including marble)
Conforming marble base is added using a custom welded piece of metal attached to the underside of the sculpture. Discoloration and rubbing wear to silver patina, light surface pitting; extensive discoloration and wear to the gilded patina. Rod used to affix metal plate to sculpture penetrates edge of garment slightly (proper left of foot on box). Waxed and polished, ready for presentation in the home.