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Lot 265: A BRONZE PORTRAIT BUST OF THE GRAND DAUPHIN, SON OF LOUIS XIV

ARTS OF FRANCE: PAINTINGS, FURNITURE, TAPESTRIES & PORCELAIN

by Christie's

October 26, 2001

New York, NY, USA

Francois Girardon (1628-1715) Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

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Description: CIRCA 1691-1709, BY FRANCOIS GIRARDON (1628-1715) Depicted in a perruque, his head turned slightly to dexter, wearing a cravat, and armour decorated in relief with intertwining dolphins, a sash draped diagonally across the shoulders; on an associated circular iron socle. Dark brown patina with chocolate brown high points. 17in. (43.2cm.) high 221/2in. (57cm.) high, overall PROVENANCE Probably Fran‡ois Girardon (1628-1715). H.M.W. Oppenheim; sold Christie's, London, 11 June, 1913, lot 169 (described as Louis XIV and paired with a bust of Queen Marie-Th‚rŠse, 1150gns. to Duveen). Anna Thomson Dodge; sold Christie's, London, 24 June 1971, lot 3 (2800gns.). LITERATURE R. Charpentier, Galerie de Girardon, 13 plates engraved by Chevalier and Ertinger, Paris, 1710, pl. II, no. 2. F. Souchal, 'La Collection du Sculpteur Girardon d'aprŠs son Inventaire aprŠs D‚cŠs', Gazette des Beaux Arts, LXXXII, 1973, pp. 1-112. F. Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries - The reign of Louis XIV, IV (Supplement), London, 1993, no. 117, pp. 113-114. P. Laverack, ed., Daniel Katz Ltd 1968-1993 - A Catalogue Celebrating Twenty-Five Years of Dealing in European Sculpture and Works of Art, London, 1993, pp. 108-109. J. Auersperg, Daniel Katz - European Sculpture, London, 1996, no. 39, pp. 84-85. COMPARATIVE LITERATURE: J. Pope-Hennessy and A. Radcliffe, The Frick Collection - An Illustrated Catalogue, IV, New York, 1970, pp. 73-77. F. Souchal, French Sculpture of the 17th and 18th centuries - The reign of Louis XIV, II, Oxford, 1981, pp. 14-83. NOTES The Grand Dauphin (1661-1711), known at court as 'Monseigneur', was the son of Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Th‚rŠse of France. He married Anne-Marie-Christine of Bavaria and had three sons, but predeceased his father when he died of smallpox at the age of fifty, so that Louis XIV was eventually succeeded by his great-grandson. Fran‡ois Girardon (1628-1715) was born in Troyes to the son of a metal-founder. He was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker and sculptor and eventually came to the attention of the Chancellor S‚guier, who sent him to Rome in 1648. Shortly after his return to Paris, he entered the employ of the Crown, where he was to remain for the rest of his professional career. He oversaw royal projects and submitted models to be executed by other artists. With Hardouin-Mansart, he directed the sculptural decoration of the D“me des Invalides . According to Souchal he was, effectively, a 'superintendent for sculpture' for nearly 15 years (Souchal, 1981, op. cit, p. 14). In 1690 he was knighted, and in 1695 he became Chancellor of the Academy. He died on the same day as his former master, Louis XIV, a rich man. He was also the owner of a large and important collection of sculpture which he had recorded for posterity in a series of thirteen engravings. The present bust is one of a number of known examples of the model (for a discussion of the example in the Frick Collection see Pope-Hennessy, loc. cit. ) but it is singled out by Fran‡ois Souchal in the supplement to his monumental work on French sculpture as being of the finest quality, and therefore, presumably, the original cast owned by Girardon himself (Souchal, 1993, op. cit., p. 114). The bust is often paired with another bronze bust of the Dauphin's mother, Marie-Th‚rŠse, and has, in the past, often been incorrectly identified as Louis XIV himself, despite the presence of the intertwining dolphins on his armour. Confirmation of the identity of the sitter comes from the engravings of Girardon's collection, executed in 1710. In the second plate of the engravings two busts appear on either side of the central niche. The one on the left is described as 'Buste de Bronze du Roy fait par F. Girardon haut de 2 pi. 2 po.' [Bronze Bust of the King by F. Girardon, 2ft 2in. high]. On the right is an engraving of the present model described 'Buste de Bronze de Monseigneur de pareille hauteur par le mˆme' [Bronze Bust of Monseigneur of the same height by the same]. The height listed in the caption equals approximately 70 centimetres. This differs from the size of the bust in the engraving - which is executed to scale - which gives a height of approximately 48 centimetres, without socle. Although the present bust is marginally smaller, Professor Souchal confirms that the engravings can be taken only as an approximation, and that a discrepancy of 5 centimetres represents an acceptable margin of error. He further notes that he has never encountered an example of the bust of the larger - 70 centimetre - scale (private correspondence of 16 May 2001). The high quality of the present bust, with its filed and chased surface and rich patina, has long been recognised by connoiseurs. It belonged formerly to H.M.W. Oppenheim, whose distinguished collection of French furniture, sculpture and porcelain was largely dispersed in a five day sale at Christie's in 1913 ('Catalogue of the Choice Collection of French Furniture, chiefly of the 18th century, Porcelain & Objects of Art Formed By H.M.W. Oppenheim, Esq., Deceased, Late of Bruton Street, W.', see provenance above). It was bought by Lord Duveen in that sale who almost certainly sold it directly to Anna Thomson Dodge, widow of a co-founder of the car manufacturing dynasty. In the early 1930s, Dodge was building a French chƒteau in the fashionable Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe. She turned to Duveen, among others, for advice in furnishing the chateau, and made several buying trips to Europe herself during the course of the decade. The collection remained at the Rose Terrace property until Mrs Dodge's death in 1970. Under the terms of her will, the contents of the Music Room were bequeathed to the Detroit Institute of Art including SŠvres porcelain, French furniture and two portraits by Gainsborough. The present bust was sold in a single owner sale held by Christie's in London. It now appears for the third time in a Christie's sale over a period of almost ninety years.

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