Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'

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Lot 96
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'

Sold for £ 36,250 (US$ 48,312) inc. premium
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'
on naturalistic octagonal base, signed DALOU and inscribed with foundry mark A. A. Hébrard, Cire Perdue and edition number 1, brown patination, 57cm high

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Property of a lady collector

    Recognised today as one of the premier sculptors of 19th century France, Aimé-Jules Dalou was admired for his perceptiveness, free execution, and unpretentious realism and was in his day revered in exactly the same manner as his friend and contemporary Rodin would later be to later generations.

    Dalou's talent was initially recognised by the French sculptor Jean Baptiste Carpeaux who persuaded his parents to allow him to study sculpture at the Petite Ecole and the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Although the sculptor exhibited at the Paris Salon as early as 1861 he was refused the prestigious Prix de Rome which would have done much to further his career due to his political leanings and his opposition to the government during the Second Empire period. However, his sculpture of 'Daphinis and Chloe' was subsequently purchased by the State after it was shown at the Salon in 1869 and he also won worldwide acclaim with his life-size plaster figure of the 'Embroiderer' at the Salon in 1870 both of which exemplify his interest in the female form.

    As a result of being a supporter of the Paris Commune whilst curator of the Musee du Louvre under Gustave Courbet, he was forced into a period of self-imposed exile from France in 1871 and made his home in London where he was convicted in his absence by the French Government for his involvement with the Commune and given a life sentence although he was eventually pardoned eight years later.

    Like his contemporary Edgar Degas, Dalou was fascinated with the subject of the female nude and its commercial potential. As such he used his time in London to work and re-work a series of small models depicting idealised female figure in stages of undress before and after bathing. These figures retain a sensitive personal connection between the sculptor and the sitter usually with specific personalised facial features which is perhaps not surprising considering that his favourite model was also his wife, Irma Vuillier.

    The bather in the present lot is depicted preparing to enter the water, apparently slightly shuddering as she looks down into the stream below. This model also has an added poignancy as the plaster original which was executed by Dalou in 1899 depicts his wife a year before her death. The shock of her tragic loss was also an undoubted contributing factor to the sculptor's own demise eighteen months later.

    The original model was purchased from Dalou's daughter Georgette in 1905 and is now in the permanent collection of the Musée du Petit-Palais. A marble version is also thought to have been commissioned in 1899 but its whereabouts are now unknown.

    No commercial bronze editions of his works were apparently produced during Dalou's lifetime as these were discouraged by the sculptor and as such the present lot can be dated to a slightly later time, produced in the immediate period post the sculptors death in 1902, when the executors of the sculptor allowed the Hébrard foundry to cast certain of Dalou's works in limited editions. These works were usually cast in limited editions of ten although some models were made in larger numbers and further editions of the more popular models were also numbered alphabetically. The current lot is numbered 1 possibly suggesting it is an early cast from one of the first editions.

    A similar cast of this model was sold at Sothebys as lot 208, 5th November 2002 for £52,580 and a further similar cast was sold at Christies as lot 406, 17th March 2011 for £46,850 (both inclusive Buyers Premium)

    Related Literature:
    A. Simier, Jules Dalou. Le sculpteur de la République, exh. cat., Petit Palais - Musées des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 2013, pp. 388-389, no. 315
    J. Hunisak, The sculptor Jules Dalou: studies in his style and imagery, New York, 1977, pp. 119-120, fig. 69
Contacts
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'
Aimé-Jules Dalou, (French, 1838-1902): A bronze figure of 'Baigneuse Avant Le Bain (Bather before the bath)'
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