A Very Fine and Monumental Pair of French 19th Century Patinated Bronze Figural Torchere Sculptures Titled "La Nuit" Attributed to Albert Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887) on a Brêche Violette Marble Stand, the very large and extremely rare pair of bronze sculptures, each depicting a life-size nude maiden wrapped with a robe around her waist and over her head, with one arm raised lifting the robe away from her face, both sculptures raised and fitted with a tapered columnar marble stand and topped with a marble plinth. Circa: Paris, 1880.
Sculpture #1 Height: 81 1/2 inches (207 cm)
Sculpture #2 Height: 81 1/4 inches (206.4 cm)
Sculpture #1 & #2 Width: 34 inches (86.4 cm)
Sculpture #1 Depth: 21 inches (53.4 cm)
Sculpture #2 Depth: 20 inches (50.1 cm)
Albert Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887)
Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse was a French sculptor and painter, born Albert-Ernest Carrier de Belleuse on June 12, 1824 in Anizy-le-Château, Aisne and died on June 4, 1887 in Sèvres. Carrier-Belleuse was a student of David d'Angers and briefly at the École des Beaux-Arts. His career is distinguished by his versatility and his work outside France: in England between 1850 and 1855 (working for Mintons), and in Brussels around 1871. His name is perhaps best known because Auguste Rodin worked as his assistant between 1864 and 1870. The two travelled to Brussels in 1871, and by some accounts Rodin assisted Carrier-Belleuse's architectural sculpture for the Brussels Stock Exchange.
Amongst many notable works in public buildings around the world, when attributing these pair of torcheres, it is important to note the monumental figural torchères sculpted by Carrier-Belleuse that flank the Grand Stairway at the Opéra Garnier, also known at the Paris Opera House, which in some manner seems to be in keeping with the spirit of the present bronze sculptures.
Carrier-Belleuse made many terra cotta pieces, the most famous of which may be The Abduction of Hippodameia depicting the Greek mythological scene of a centaur kidnapping Hippodameia on her wedding day. He was also made artistic director at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres in 1876.
As a painter he produced many portraits and landscapes on the Côte d'Opale, northern sea-borders facing England, chiefly in the village of Audresselles. In 1862 Carrier-Belleuse was one of the founding members of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and was made an Officier of the Légion d'honneur.
He was also the father and teacher of Louis-Robert Carrier-Belleuse
A very large set of four pairs of caryatids (Cariatides) by Albert Carrier-Belleuse, similar in motif as these torcherers, executed in 1873, adorn Le Théâtre de la Renaissance at 20 Boulevard Saint Martin in Paris. Click here to view an image of one them.