Henri Chapu (French, 1833-91) Bronze Sculpture, Joan of Arc, Barbedienne
ITEM #: 410LTQP
HENRI MICHEL ANTOINE CHAPU (FRENCH, 1833-1891) ANTIQUE FRENCH BRONZE SCULPTURE
"Jeanne d'Arc a Doremy" (Joan of Arc at Doremy), exhibited 1870, c. 1875-90
Foundry stamp of "F. Barbedienne Fondeurs" w/ A. Collas reduction seal
Item # 410LTQP
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, a broad movement of Romanticism artists were putting forth works of historical "celebrities", a topic that deeply resounded with sentiments of the time. When Chapu completed this work, originally in marble, he exhibited it at a highly opportune moment on the eve of the disastrous Franco-Prussian war - a moment of flagging morale when France was greatly in need of a heroine of her proportions to rescue the flagging morale. She was an almost immediate success, Chapu's first great triumph, and was first exhibited in sculpted marble at Salon in 1872 - this original is held at the Musee du Luxembourg.
Later being offered by the F. Barbedienne foundry, most of these editions retailed between the years of 1875-1890, they offered several edition sizes: 117 cm, 72 cm, 60 cm, 47 cm, 36 cm, 30 cm and 23 cm. An 1872 example founded by F. Barbedienne in the 117 cm edition is held at the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Despite the large number of sizes and the popularity of the work, fine versions by the Barbedienne foundry are actually quite rare and only infrequently are offered on the open market.
The present example is a finished in a lovely brown patina, preserved under wax and clearly in outstanding condition. She is of utmost precision, every line and detail flawlessly chased and filed into perfection, resulting in a quite inspiring portrayal of an incredible historical figure. She is sculpted as a simple shepherdess of a Lorraine village, her hands clasped in prayer as she firmly looks into the horizon, facing her destiny with a resolute strength. She believed that during these prayers she received the instruction to save France, at the time swallowed in The Hundred Years War. As she sits in repose on the naturalistic base, supported by nothing and in what should likely be a somewhat uncomfortable pose, she is relaxed and at ease with herself - in this, Chapu displays a mastery of the human figure that few of his school could command. The work is signed along the edge "Chapu" and along the back "F. Barbedienne Fondeurs" w/ the seal of credit to the A. Collas mechanism for reduction. The underside of the bronze is inscribed in the stretcher "799.9" and is stamped at the joint of the stretcher and edge "V V".
Literature & Further Reading:
Art Bronzes, Forrest, p. 39, fig. 2.65 - "Joan of Arc at Doremy" c. 1875 w/ accompanying text
Bronzes: Sculptors and Founders vol III, Berman, p. 687, f. 2523 - "Jeanne D'Arc - Enfant" c. 1880
Bronzes D'Art F. Barbedienne, Paris, 1886 edition, p. 47
Bronzes of the 19th Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Kjellberg, p. 199
Measurements: 14" H x 9 11/16" W x 9 7/8" D
Only the most minor of patina wear. Overall exceptional condition. Please review all images in the slideshow for a full overview of condition.