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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.

The 9000 square foot brick-and-mortar gallery is home to a large collection of works of art and estate jewelry. We specialize in sculpture circa 1860 through 1930 with a particular emphasis on the Animaliers and as such the gallery always has a very large collection of exceptional European and American sculpture available on display.

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Three Putto and a Wildcat | after Clodion, cast ca. 1880

Clodion, Michel

Regular Price: $3,400.00
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catalog text

French, 1738-1814

A Bacchanalia Group of Putto with a Wildcat

Sand-cast patinated bronze | signed in base "Clodion", underside with pigment "308" | cast circa 1880

Item # 309GRZ09P 

A playful model of a group of three putto playing together while riding and otherwise being trampled on by a wildcat, it is steeped in the Dionysian motif with grapes strewn across the grown and grape-leaves interwoven in the hair of the boys. Two of the putto are satyrs while one is a human boy and like most young boys at play, all three are most serious about what they are engaging in. The viewer can almost hear the ridiculous conversations and impending arguments between the trio as they try to ride this almost fanciful creature. So far removed from reality, the ridiculousness of the scene is what makes it so fun. But also the sheer technical expertise is to be greatly admired. The model is sand-cast with a very fine grade of finishing throughout - note the hammered and engraved textures that were added afterwards by the foundry to the hair of the boys, the fine dimpling that was applied to each and every grape-leaf, the intricate chiseling and filing that has been completed on the surface to bring life to a surface full of texture captured directly from the mold. Exquisite. The naturalistic base is signed in script "Clodion".

Claude Michel, widely recognized by his sobriquet Clodion, was an illustrious French sculptor who significantly contributed to the Rococo style of art. Born on December 20, 1738, in Nancy along the far eastern border of France, Clodion was raised in an dynasty steeped in artistic tradition. His mother Anne Adam was the sister of acclaimed sculptors Lambert-Sigisbert and Nicolas Sebastian Adam, both of whom had studied in Rome and had completed commissions for Louis XV. His father, Thomas Michel, was also a sculptor, albeit less distinguished than his maternal uncles. And several of Clodion's brothers also pursued occupations as sculptors, never achieving the fame of Claude Michel.

In 1755, Clodion's burgeoning talent led him to Paris, where he apprenticed in the workshop of Lambert-Sigisbert Adam. After his uncle's death in 1759, he continued his studies under Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, another renowned figure in the art world. Clodion's skill and artistry were formally recognized in 1759 when he was awarded the highly coveted Prix de Rome, which afforded him an opportunity to spend the next three years studying at the Ecole des Elèves Protéges in preparation for his stay in Italy. He left in 1862 for Rome, arriving on Christmas Day to begin his three years of study at the Académe de France à Rome. His excellence in the study of models earned him a silver medal in 1761.

While only three years were covered by the Prix de Rome, Clodion stayed in Italy for nine years until 1771. His creative output was enormous and he quickly found himself in great demand. Although Catherine II of Russia sought to bring him to St. Petersburg, Clodion chose to return to Paris under the order of Marquis de Marigny, Director of the King's Buildings in Paris; once he was back in the city, his work attracted numerous patrons, including the chapter of Rouen and the states of Languedoc.

Clodion's marital life began in 1782 when he married Catherine Flore, the daughter of sculptor Augustin Pajou. The union, however, was not to last, as she later obtained a divorce. The tumult of the French Revolution in 1792 saw Clodion retreat to Nancy, where he would remain until 1798, dedicating his time to the decoration of houses rather than public commissions.

Clodion's oeuvre is rich and varied, including works such as a statue of the philosopher Montesquieu, a depiction of a Dying Cleopatra, and a notable chimneypiece now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His creation, "Dance of Time," completed in 1788, resides within the Frick Collection in New York. He is also known for "The Intoxication of Wine" and, towards the end of his career, crafted a group representing Homer as a beggar, completed in 1810.

Clodion's life and career were emblematic of the Rococo period's sensibilities—characterized by ornate and decorative aesthetics, a keen attention to detail, and a focus on themes of nature and playfulness. His mastery in marble, bronze, and terracotta stands as a testament to his versatility and enduring legacy in the annals of art history. Clodion passed away in Paris on March 29, 1814, just as the city braced for the invasion by the forces of the Sixth Coalition, bringing an end to the life of one of the period's most expressive and inventive sculptors

Measurements: 13 1/2" H x 7 1/2" D x 12" W

Condition Report:
Very minor handling wear to patina. A fine presentation. Cleaned, sealed in conservator's grade wax and polished - ready to place.