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    Sale 1987

    Important European Furniture, Works of Art, Ceramics, Carpets, And Glass

    20 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 219

    A BRONZE GROUP OF CERES IN SEARCH OF PROSERPINE

    ATTRIBUTED TO MICHEL ANGUIER (1612-1686), SECOND HALF 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A BRONZE GROUP OF CERES IN SEARCH OF PROSERPINE
    ATTRIBUTED TO MICHEL ANGUIER (1612-1686), SECOND HALF 17TH CENTURY
    Depicted holding a flaming torch in her right hand, drapery billowing behind her and standing above a dragon on a hexagonal stand, with a paper label to underside of base inscribed in ink 'lot 105 3/5/77'
    21 in. (53 cm.) high


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    Ceres is one of the well-known group of seven bronzes modelled by Anguier after his return from Rome in 1652 for Tessier de Montarsis, the court jeweler to Louis XIV. Guillet de Saint Georges, in a lecture about the life of Anguier delivered on 6 May 1690 to the French Academy of Painting and Sculpture, describes Anguier's work on Ceres and the other six bronzes in this group: 'Monsieur Anguier fut occupé en 1652 aux modèles de six [sic] figures, chacune de 18 pouces qui ont été jetée en bronze et qui représentent un Jupiter foudroyant, une Junon jalouse, un Neptune agité, une Amphitrite tranquille, un Pluton mélancolique, un Mars qui quitte ses armes et une Cérès eplorée. Ces figures sont aujour'hui à M. Montarsis, joallier du roi' (Mémoires...des Membres de l'Académie Royale..., Paris, 1854, I, p. 438, as cited in Knoedler, op. cit., no. 20).

    Further cementing the Anguier attribution is the fact that a version of Ceres shows up in the engravings of the sculpture collection of François Girardon. Girardon, the Sculpteur Ordinaire du Roi had a magnificent and celebrated collection of bronzes which was documented in the engravings by N. Chevallier after drawings by R. Charpentier and published in Paris in 1710 and plate IV includes, as number 11, a 'Ceres, fig. de bronze de M. Anguier' (Tietze-Conrat, op. cit, pp. 54-57, fig. 50 and Avery, op. cit., p. 194).

    Additional bronze versions of Ceres are in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, the National Gallery of Art, Washington and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. There is a slightly different version in the Victoria and Albert Museum, with Ceres shown as bare-breasted and with different drapery (Avery, op. cit., p. 195). The figure of Ceres is closely related to those of Amphitrite and Jupiter, perhaps the most popular and oft-copied figures of the group, with a dolphin and eagle at their feet, respectively, instead of Ceres' dragon. Anguier later often repeated these figures and in 1654-1658 life-size figures in stone were executed for the ill-fated Finance Minister Nicholas Fouquet.

    Provenance

    Robert Strauss Collection; sold Christie's New York, 3 May 1977.
    British Rail Pension Fund; sold Sotheby's London, 4 July 1996, lot 46.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED COLLECTION
    (LOTS 207-223)


    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
    E. Tietze-Conrat, 'Beiträge zur Geschichte der Italienischen Spätrenaissance- und Barockskulptur', Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Institutes des Deutschösterreichischen Staatsdenkmalamtes, Vienna, XII, 1918, pp. 44-75.
    H. R. Weirauch, Europäische Bronzestatuetten 15.-18. Jahrhunderts, Brunswick, 1967, fig. 484, p. 400.
    J. Fischer, The French Bronze 1500-1800, exh. cat., M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1968, no. 20.
    V. Avery, Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, London, 2002, pp. 192-195 and 284-285.


    Exhibited

    Detroit Institute of Arts, 1980-1995.