Patinated bronze on nero portero marble base | signed in base "Samuel Ch., Firenze 1911" and cold-stamped foundry mark "Erzgiesserei AG WEIN"
Item # 306XMP21Z
A brilliant depiction of Adam from the Creation of Man by the important Belgian sculptor Charles Samuel, it is a model that he sculpted in tandem with a sculpture of Eve. Both are presented as vestal youths, totally naive and innocent as she holds the apple in her hand. In this counterpart, Adam looks across at Eve with his hand loosely outstretched to receive from her the apple from the tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. Congruently, he is depicted entirely nude and unaware of his nakedness, a blindness that would be removed after eating from the apple. It is an incredibly powerful work with many layers of beauty and is presented brilliantly over a turned and molded nero portero marble base.
The casting quality is of particular note. Truly superior modeling of the details is self-evident in the cast. His manner in which his hair is captured is perhaps one of the most beautiful representations of human hair we have come across in some time. This is depicted as chaotic strand groupings, these intricately outlined with a freshness that feels like the original wax model is being manipulated before your eyes. But despite the exceedingly good technical precision, Samuel does not stay in the lane of his academic training and introduces in Adam a stylizing of the figure and surfaces that removes him ever-so-slightly from reality. All elements are exquisitely executed, from his fingers, the sinuous musculature and his well-developed feet and toes. He is situated on a simple round base signed "Samuel Ch. Firenze 1911", this cold-stamped by the Erzgiesserei AG foundry in Vienna, Austria.
Charles Samuel's work is incredibly scarce and rarely shows up on the open market and we have never seen this model present itself. It is a very powerful image of impeccable quality and great rarity.
CHARLES SAMUEL (BELGIAN, 1862-1938)
Born in Brussels on December 29th of 1862, Charles Samuel began his work as an artist apprenticed as a goldsmith to Philippe Wolfers at the age of fifteen. He began his formal training starting in 1878 under sculptor Louis Eugène Simonis, Charles van der Stappen and Jean Joseph Jaquet at the Brussels Academy of Fine Arts (Academie Royale). While he worked extensively in the primary materials of marble and bronze, he also worked extensively in ivory, wood and other stones. His time in the Wolfers studio gave him a comfort level incorporating precious metals into his work in a way that most of his contemporaries avoided.
He made his debut at Salon in 1883 and achieved the first major recognition for his work three years later with his exhbition of Au Soir, a sculpture that won the Prix Godecharle in 1886. He was recognized with a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 and a gold medal the following year. He also exhibited extensively at the Salon des Artistes Française in Paris.
His successes at exhibition led to several important public commissions, including the 1894 Monument to Charles de Coster for the Ixelles Ponds in Brussels and the monument of Brabançonne in Brussels that celebrates the Brabant figure immortalised in Belgium's national anthem. His bust of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium is held in the Brussels Museum of Fine Art and his Bust of Charles Hayem is held in the permanent collection of the Museé d'Orsay.
Artist Listings & Bibliography:
- La sculpture belge au 19ème siècle, Van Lennep, 1990, p. 550-553
- E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, vol. XII, Gründ, 2006, p. 342
Measurements: 25 3/4" H (including marble), 21 1/4" H (bronze); 6 3/4" D x 6 5/8" W
There is no evidence in his outstretched hand that an apple was ever present - the model of Eve that he created to oppose this model holds the apple in her outstretched hand and likely the two subjects finish the story when presented together. Trace wear to the original patina, including some abrading to the upraised hand and wrist, his hip and knee. A very fine presentation.