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silla was born out of a passion for beautiful objects: special pieces with aesthetic and historical significance. In 2009, after years of collecting, Andrew Silla and his wife Grace began to work privately with clients from their residence in Southern Maryland. Quickly outgrowing the space, the business was moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2012 and after several warehouse location changes it was firmly settled in the present brick-and-mortar location in downtown Shippensburg.

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"Jeunne Chasseur a la Source" | Eugene Quinton

Barbedienne, Ferdinand


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catalog text

French, 1853-1892

"Jeunne chasseur à la source"

Patinated bronze | Signed in cast "E Quinton 1888", sealed with A Collas cachet and engraved "F. Barbedienne, Fondeur, Paris", engraved 654 | conceived 1888, cast circa 1910

Item # 304ZPO23W 

It is self-evident why this model was awarded a silver medal in the Salon of 1888 (no. 4559) where it was presented in plaster. In this dream-like reimagining of mythology, Eugene Quinton captures the fatal tale of Narcissus at the moment of his entrancement.

Narcissus was a youth from Thespiai in Boiotia. His father was the river-god Kephisos and his mother was the nymph Liriope. He grew into a young man of great beauty and was loved by all who met him. But he was unwilling to return the same love to anyone and rejected the nymph Echo, his rejection echoing in her mouth until she faded away into oblivion. He rejected the love of Ameinias, who killed himself in despair, calling on Nemesis to avenge him. She granted that Narcissus would never have anything he loved.

One day, when Narcissus was hunting he stumbled across a stream and when he looked into its still waters he saw his own reflection and fell deeply in love with the image. He reached out to grab the figure, but could not grasp it. He stayed beside the stream without sleep or food, sharing every moment with this image, this reflection that so totally captured his heart. And there he wasted away until he died beside the waters and was transformed by the nymphs into a Narcissus (daffodil) flower.

In Quinton's development of the tale, the young hunter is shown coming to collect the bird he has fallen, which lays partially submergered in the still waters at the edge of the bank. But instead of examining his kill, which is perfectly pierced through the breast and lays lifeless at his feet, he is quite literally captured by the image of himself in the still waters.

The sculpture is often wrongly associated with Apollon, but Quinton's subtle use of the daffodil (Narcissus) interlaced in the image is all the allusion he needs to prompt the viewer to correctly consider the greater context of the work. Every element of the scene is carefuly considered, but Quinton's greatest skill is in his modeling of the young man - great care was shown in bringing to life a truly beautiful and perfectly balanced young man and to place the youth so lightly on his perch as to be almost floating in the air above the pond. There is little doubt as to why he presented the model again at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle (no. 2111).

The present example was cast post-humously by the foundry of Ferdinand Barbedienne at some point in the first years of the new century circa 1910. An incredibly large model measuring just over 38" (97 cm), it is a dominating image of beauty while also having so many layers of both philisophical and psychological context that can be slowly considered. Note the exquisite casting quality, where the skillful foundry work is most evident in the beak of the bird (that is literally sharp to the touch), the carefully chiseled nails on each finger and toe and the brilliant refinement of his facial features. Retains its original translucent brown surface patina and remains in exceedingly good condition throughout.

Born in Rennes Ille et Vilaine to a mason in December 31st of 1853, Eugene Quinton studied in his hometown before being accepted to train at the École des beaux-arts in Paris. He made his debut at the Salon in 1877 and showed a statue of L'Etoile du Berger in 1884, an example that today remains in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Rennes after having been acquired by the French Government. He was awarded a bronze medal for his 1883 monumental group of La Defense du Territoire. In 1888 he exhibited a group of Jeunne chasseur à la source (no. 4559), which won a silver medal at the Salon des Artistes Française in Paris. He was awarded a bronze medal in 1889 at the Paris Exposition Universelle where he exhibited Jeunne chasseur again (no. 2111) and in 1892 he offered his final exhibit at Salon with his statue of Echo (no. 3007). He died in Paris in June of the same year.

Artist Listings & Bibliography:

  • Salon de 1888, Paris, Govpil et Cie, p. 91, p. 97
  • E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. XI, Gründ, 2006, p. 557
  • Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de L'École Française, vol. IV, Stanislas Lami, Kraus, 1921, p. 124-125

Measurements: 38 1/4" (97 cm) H x 23" W (at widest points) x 13 3/4" base diameter

Condition Report:
Original patina throughout other than retouching (and some discoloration) evident at the handle of the bow, where the joint between the upper and lower half of the bow were professionally tightened; areas of light wear to patina as well as some discoloration, including some minor speckling that is perhaps original or at least quite early here and there throughout, mostly to the back of the sculpture; some minor scratches to patina; wear to the patina around the edges of the base; cleaned and polished, a very fine ready-to-place presentation.