Firebird (The Russian Ballet)
signed 'H Gaudier/Brzeska' (on the base)
bronze with a mid-brown patina
25 in. (63.5 cm.) high
Conceived in June - July 1912.
Artist or Maker
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915)
Leeds, Temple Newsam, Roy de Maistre, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, June - August 1943, no. 62.
Leeds, Arts Council of Great Britain, Temple Newsam, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawings, June - August 1956, no. 2.
Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska Sculptures, August - September 1972, no. 13: this exhibition toured to Leeds, City Art Gallery, September - October 1972; and Cardiff, National Museum of Wales, October - November 1972.
H. Brodzky, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, London, 1933, p. 36, another cast illustrated.
H.S. Ede, Savage Messiah, London, 1931, p. 156.
M. Levy (intro.), Gaudier-Brzeska Drawings and Sculpture, London, 1965, no. 73, pl. 73, probably another cast illustrated.
E. Silber and D. Finn, Gaudier-Brzeska Life and Art, London, 1996, no. 18, pls. 11-12.
with Leicester Galleries, London.
Mrs Rosemary Peto, by whom donated to the Friends of the Courtauld Institute.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 4 June 1971, lot 149 (1400 gns. to Leese).
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The artist was commissioned by Julian Lousada to produce this group showing Adolph Bolm and Tamara Karsavina in the Ballet Russe production of Stravinsky's The Firebird which was performed in London for the first time during the Ballet Russe season from 12 June to 1 August 1912. The sculpture depicts the moment when Ivan Tsarevitch captures the Firebird. Gaudier made two plaster casts from the original clay. Lousada received a plaster and paid £20 for one bronze cast, the highest price paid for any of his works in his lifetime. This cast was destroyed by bombing during the Blitz and ten casts were subsequently produced from the extant plaster (see E. Silber, op. cit., p. 254).
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