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  • Henri Chapu (French, 1833-1891) Antique Bronze Sculpture Barbedienne La Jeunesse

Henri Chapu (French, 1833-1891) Antique Bronze Sculpture Barbedienne La Jeunesse

ITEM #: 1406YPP23P

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Signed "Chapu", impressed "256 F. Barbedienne Fondeur, Paris" with A. Collas reduction seal, c. 1875-90
Item # 1406YPP23P

Originally sculpted by Henri Chapu in marble as a private memorial for Henri Regnault, now held in the patio of the Beaux-Arts school in Paris, this antique bronze sculpture is the most popular work by Henri Chapu. It features a maiden straining upward to place a laurel branch at the crest of the monument, her robes spilling over the stone facade as it clings to her form. It is a romantic work, one that speaks of admiration and reverence, the young woman clearly wearing a burden of love and loss. This sculpture was cast in several reductions by the Ferdinand Barbedienne foundry, these advertised in their 1886 catalogue as 118, 95 and 60 cm - the Musée d'Orsay holds a Barbedienne cast in 60 cm, Moret-sur-Loing likewise holding a 60 cm cast. The present example is exceptional in it's parcel gilt highlights, these bringing life to her hair, the foliage in hand, touches of her garments and surface variation in the monument. It is a very large and impressive strike point piece, stretching a full 37.5" in height (95 cm edition), retaining both the Barbedienne impression as well as the Collas reduction seal. For serious collectors of Chapu's work, this is a positively outstanding find. This work has seen very stable mid four-figure results at auction, and most editions in the last several years being absent of the parcel gilding beyond the branch.

Literature & Further Reading:

  • Nineteenth-Century Romantic Bronzes: French, English and American Bronzes 1830-1915, Jeremy Cooper - La Jeunesse depicted on back cover, likewise depicted p. 44, briefly discussed p. 41
  • Bronzes: Sculptors and Founders, Vol IV, Berman, p. 1124, f. 4495 - "La Jeunesse - The Young Lady" c. 1880
  • Catalogue des Bronzes D'Art: F. Barbedienne, Paris, 1886 edition, p. 48 - noting La Jeunesse as being offered in three editions, 118 cm for 1,500 franc, 95 cm for 1,100 franc, 60 cm for 575 franc
  • Bronzes of the 19th Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Kjellberg, p. 199-200

Measurements: 37 1/2" high x 10 15/16" wide x 10 5/16" deep

Condition Report:
Some patina wear and loss along edges/sides; abrasion along leg revealing a silvery tone beneath the highest layer of patina (we have verified beyond question that this is bronze, not spelter, despite the silver tone in these abrasions). Light verdigris oxidization throughout from not being in a moisture controlled area (top, base beside signature, folds of garment), this since lightly cleaned and waxed for protection. Please review all images in the slideshow for a full overview of condition.

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