BRONZE GROUP OF TWO FEMALES AND CUPID AFTER MODEL BY PIERRE EUGENE EMILE HEBERT (FRENCH, 1828-1893)
"Le Jeu de Cache-Cache", Signed in base "E. Hebert", stamped on base edge "Tiffany & Co."
Item # 602GPA20Z
A moving and complex group of “Playing Hide and Seek”, Hebert captures the dance of a young maiden with a determined Cupid while her mother seeks to keep love at bay at least for a time. The nearly militant portrayal of Cupid is distinct despite his cute and childish features, whereby intensity and inevitability are written on his brow and stance. Strapped around his back is a nearly full quiver of arrows, several spent arrows broken on the ground from failed attempts to reach the maiden. Hebert’s ability to capture expression in this work is most notable, the mother looking on in love with a small smile despite playing the part of divider, the younger woman clearly rather interested in the game of it all. Throughout, the technical quality of his work is above reproach - the modeling of all three figures is perfect, dimensionally and proportionally, each relating to the next with perfect harmony; a very complex group to cast, the foundry work is very fine. Every surface is perfectly chiseled and chased into crisp lifelike detailing. The work was edited by Tiffany & Co., as they were likely the retailers of the sculpture when it was offered. It rests over the original molded rouge marble base.
Pierre-Eugéne-Emile Hebert was born in Paris in 1828 and studied under his father, a well regarded sculptor Pierre Hebert, and under Jean-Jacques Feuchére. At the age of 18 he debuted at Salon, where he continued to exhibit almost every year continuously until his death in 1893, also completing some commissioned public works. He is particularly known for “Comedy and Drama”, stone groups at the Théatre du Vaudeville and his group “The Oracle” (now at the museum in Vienna). His works are held in museums and institutions throughout the United States and Great Britain.
Literature and References:
- "E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol VI", Gründ, p. 1290
- "Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century, Dictionary of Artists", Kjellberg, p. 376
- “The Romantics to Rodin, French Nineteenth Century Sculpture”, Fusco & Janson, 1980, p. 294-95
- “Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de l’Ecole Francaise”, Lami, 1914-21, p. 91-93
Measurements: [figure] 17 3/4” H [total including marble] 19 1/4” H; approx. 9 1/4” diameter
Original patina, oxidized and blackened; areas of loss from natural handling wear, polishing etc. Dust/light grime in crevices. Cupid's right proper hand probably missing an element, tallest female’s left proper hand probably missing an element - this arm also is just ever so slightly loose. It does not need to be addressed in any way, but is worth noting.