The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review: 1900 Art At The Crossroads

Title: 1900 Art at The Crossroads
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., N.Y.
Date Published: 2000
ISBN: 0-8109-4303-4

I wanted to get in another book review of one of my favorite books before I call it a day. You can pick up a used copy of this coffee table sized book at for less than ten dollars and believe me that would be a well spent ten dollars. The book chronicles the Exposition Decennale which was part of the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. 1900 was a year of great changes in the art world, modern masters were in their prime and those who would change the art world in the future were just coming into their own as revolutionary figures. This book contains page after page of color illustrations of paintings and sculpture (more than 500 illustrations). There is an illustrated biography section in the back of the book that includes bibliographical references. I highly recommend this volume as an addition to any comprehensive art library.

Here are just a few of the profuse color illustrations featured in this book:

Wilhelm Trubner ... Salome ... 1898

Anders Zorn - Red Sands - 1902

Joaquin Sorolla Y Batistida .... Sad Inheritance ... 1899

Ferdinand Hodler .... Spring ... 1901

Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892): 19th Century Bronze - Berger Jouant de la Flute by Antoine Coyzevox (1640-1720)

This little diamond in the rough was listed on eBay Austria and what knocked me over about it was the low price. I think the way the seller had it listed and described made it somewhat invisible to a casual buyer. Somebody had no clue what they had. To my practiced eye it appears to be the genuine article, a late 19th century Ferdinand Barbedienne bronze reduction of Antoine Coyzevox's "Berger Jouant de la Flute." (Shepherd Playing the Flute) It was going for a song and a dance (I can't sing and I can't dance, but I can talk my way into a lot of trouble when I set my mind to it). Having no shame and at the present no money either, I contacted the seller and suggested that for a hamburger today (this bronze) I would gladly repay her next Tuesday (February 1st) a la Popeye's Wimpie. My ex-wife insists I should change my middle name to "six months, same as cash" for all my finagling and get it over with. Hey, my philosophy is: "You'll never know unless you ask, if it ain't broke for god's sake don't try to fix it, and never ever take no for an answer." Well, I have now added this nice bronze to my collection. It is a little dusty, having been spirited out of some attic in Grebenau, Deutschland, but with a little cleaning and some paste wax, it may just return to its former glory.
Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) Foundry Barbedienne - Paris

Ferdinand Barbedienne was a well known and well documented French metalworker and manufacturer of the 19th century. In 1838 he went into partnership with Achille Collas (1795-1859), who had invented a method for making reductions of sculpture. The firm specialized in reproductions of antique and modern sculpture and eventually employed 300 artists and workers, who produced as many as 1,200 subjects, including the work of Michelangelo, Lucca della Robbia, and Antoine-Louis Barye, as well as making busts of historical notables. By 1850 the firm was producing a wide variety of decorative objects in many styles. The firm Barbedienne, from 1851, received numerous medals at the international exhibitions, including medals in three different classes at the International Exhibition of 1862 in London. Whether busy with castings or making cannons for the French Army, the firm was always busy. Barbedienne actively pursued contracts with many well known sculptors of 19th century Paris. After Ferdinand died his nephew, Gustave Leblanc, continued the high standards set by his uncle. The foundry continued under Leblanc's stewardship until 1952.

Caption: Pan and Infant Faun , by Antoine Coyzevox (1640-1720)
Foundry: F. Barbedienne
Medium: Cast bronze
Dated: circa 1865-1890
Dimensions: 37cm x 18cm x 18cm

Here are but a few of the literally thousands of examples of the Barbedienne foundry's works:

Giovanni Lorenzo Guidotti - Late 18th Century Copper Engraving: Two Male Nudes

I managed to take one of the 18th century engravings listed on eBay France (Illustration below) for a few farthings. After some research I learned that the copper engraving on laid rag paper is a plate from Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond D'Alembert's (editors) 18th century "Encyclopedie ou Dictionnaire Raisonne Des Sciences, Des Arts et Des Metiers." The engraver of the work is the Italian artist Giovanni Lorenzo Guidotti, who was active in the mid to late 18th century. I looked up Diderot's "Encyclopedie" and apparently intact copies of the massive 18th century work go for some big bucks. Unfortunately I could find very little biographic information on Guidotti on the web, but did see a few examples of his engraving skills. A very nice addition to my print collection.
Caption: Book Plate, Two Male Nudes in Classic Pose
Artist: Engraver, Giovanni Lorenzo Guidotti, Italian, Mid to Late 18th Century
Medium: Copper Engraving, on laid rag paper
Dated: ca. 1758-1776
Dimensions: 44,5 cm (17.5in) by 29,00 cm (11.5 in - Approx.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ludwig Vordermayer (1868-1933) Romischer Krieger mit Pferd - Roman Warror with Horse (1905)

I found this beautiful bronze on eBay Austria yesterday and was greatly impressed with the composition. It is obviously missing some parts (the spear and the reign connecting the horse to the rider) and has a few condition problems but is still a magnificent work of art. Unfortunately, I could not find much biographic information on Ludwig Vordermayer but I have a series of six volumes on European Bronze works coming from today, perhaps they will contain some useful information. Enjoy.

I found additional illustrations of the same bronze and another bronze of a female nude by the same artist:

The Slipper...

I am really not sure what the below illustrations are about because the web site was in Japanese or Chinese script but it perhaps illustrates how a beautiful bronze can be damaged by corrosion of the copper in the bronze and exposure to the elements (one reason for the application of a good patina). Lord knows it could use some repair and a new patina. I thought it interesting that it appears to be an edition of Vordermayer's bronze. Bronzes are prone to a debilitating process called "bronze disease" which is deterioration of the metal from exposure to the elements and lack of proper care. The patina is applied to prevent this but sometimes deterioration still takes place. It always pays to research the medium and be knowledgeable of its proper care and conservation. This might be a preliminary casting model for the artist to review how the various castings come together and then make changes for the final edition.

French Auction House Finds: Review of Past Auctions

I found a new (to me) French Auction site yesterday and perused their past auctions for a few hours. I culled out some really beautiful figurative works and will share them with you (below).
Virginie Demont-Breton (1859-1935) Le Premier Bain ..... 1934

Jehanne Paris Branneh (French - 19th Century) Jeune Fille Pres de la Source

Atelier de Delorme - Pierre Claude Francois (1783-1859) Hero et Leandre

Attribue a Cesare Bacchi (1881-1971) Lavandiere

Louis Joseph Raphael Collin (1850-1916) .. etude preparatoire Le Salon de 1889 - La Jeunesse

19th Century French School

French School - 19th Century: Female Model

Ernest Edouard Martens (1865-XIX) ... Le Printemps 1897 - Exhibited Paris Salon of 1897

Albert Joseph Penot (1870-XX) Nu

Philippe Parrot (1831-1894) Le Trois Graces

Thomas Moystn (1864-1930) Nude Boys 1

French School ... Late 19th Century ... Male Nude