"THE ROMAN CHARIOTEER"
After a model by Emmanuel Fremiet
Patinated bronze | Signed "E. FREMIET" | conceived 1866, cast circa 1890s by Barbedienne, engraved foundry mark on base edge
Item # 105DUG23V
This exquisite lifetime casting of Fremiet's Cocher Romain was executed by the foundry of Ferdinand Barbedienne and was a presentation model dated along the base 1896 and engraved to a Monsieur G. Roux from the family of Georges Martin. An unusually good quality model, it shows fine surface detail and overall texture cast through directly from a well-preserved mold with the crisp signature along the front of the naturalistic base "E. FREMIET" also captured directly in the mold. A medallion along the front edge showcases a Roman charioteer in relief along the cove-molded base. The surface is finished in a lively chemical patina with a green underlayer brushed over with a medium brown with hints of black in the recesses and relieved highlights.
A complex group with intricate modeling of these two powerful horses, they completely overwhelm the rider and yet he seems firmly in control. Seated on his mount with a very slight saddle, the charioteer holds his whip high overhead as he seeks to control the rearing horses. This model was born from a reworking of his group Char romain doublant la borne, a sculpture issued as the grand prize for the Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo horse racing course in Buenos Aires. In that version, the horses are repositioned and the rider removed to a chariot drawn behind the horses. The present composition is most compelling and dramatic, the crowded space between the horses with a claustrophobic tension as their rearing bodies nearly intertwine and dwarf the rider. It was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1866.
The model is a relatively infrequent find, furthermore being in a fine state of preservation with the delicate original whip intact; but it is a particularly desirable for its exquisite casting quality. A model of similar surface quality and identical dimensions, though lacking its whip, is held in the permanent collection of the Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, acc. no. 75.14565; one in a reddish-brown surface patina, also lacking the whip, is held in the permanent collection of Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts, acc. no. 1945.476.
Measurements: 16 3/4" H (to highest point) x 8" D (base) x 13 1/8" W (base)
Original whip intact - please note, this will be unscrewed for safe shipment and must be reinstalled by the client upon receipt. All surfaces have been professionally cleaned and sealed in beeswax, an overall brilliant presentation. Minor wear to the original patina, no evidence of retouching.