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    Sale 7445

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture and Tapestries

    6 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 56

    A CARVED MARBLE FIGURE OF A FAUN PLAYING THE PAN PIPES

    BY LAURENT DELVAUX (1696-1778), CIRCA 1764

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A CARVED MARBLE FIGURE OF A FAUN PLAYING THE PAN PIPES
    BY LAURENT DELVAUX (1696-1778), CIRCA 1764
    Depicted seated on a rocky outcrop and holding his pipes in both hands; on an integrally carved naturalistic base signed to the front 'L. Delvaux'; very minor chips and scratches
    24½ in. (62 cm.) high


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    When Alain Jacobs included the lot offered here in the monograph on Delvaux (op. cit., S251) he concluded that, on stylistic grounds, the marble dated from the mid 1760s, over 30 years after he conceived the terracotta model formerly in the collection of Victor Meer, Brussels (ibid, S61). The highly classicising terracotta, which the latter proposed was conceived in 1733, the year after Delvaux returned to the Low Countries from Rome, clearly used at least two antique prototypes as sources of inspiration; these are the Pan and Apollo in the Museo Nazionale, Rome (Haskell and Penny, op. cit., no. 70) and the Daphnis formerly in the della Valle collection and now in the Uffizi, Florence (Mansueli, op. cit., no. 102).

    In terms of composition, the terracotta is more closely related to the Daphnis than the Pan and Apollo, since the shepherd is depicted seated alone, his head turned to the side and his pan-pipes raised closer to his mouth. To this languid composition Delvaux then instilled a liveliness of form and heightened suppleness to the anatomy, which would then be even further accentuated in the marble offered here. Delvaux stripped the model of the stiffness found in the antique prototypes - regimented by the canons of proportion and style - and successfully created a natural, and organic, composition that would define the style of his latter years.

    Jacobs' dating of the marble to circa 1764, therefore, even though the terracotta is proposed to have been conceived in circa 1733, has credence. While many of his early mature works retained the idealised facial types and stiff, classical drapery as seen on the terracotta, the marble shows Delvaux abandoning many of the antique attributes, apart from the subject matter, and sees him reverting to his very early education in the baroque style. As with his works for the Appartements d'Eté, Brussels, and the Hercules for the palace of Charles de Lorraine (Jacobs, op. cit., S223-250 and S267) all conceived between 1763-70, the marble Faun is similarly supple, fresh and almost painterly in the spontaneous way that it is carved.

    Thus one can see how his last decade of activity was conspicuously dominated by his stylistic bi-polarity, and by constructing and deconstructing his predominant artistic styles, Delvaux demonstrated the breadth of his artistic genius.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Laurent Delvaux from whom inherited by Anne-Francoise Delvaux, 2 March 1778.
    Acquired by Laurent Baugniet, Nivelles.
    By descent to Francois Cousin-Baugniet, Brussels.
    Arthur Cousin, Brussels.


    Literature

    A. Jacobs, Laurent Delvaux. Gand, 1696 - Nivelles, 1778, Paris, 1999, p. 268-9, S61 and p. 443, S251.

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    Stassart, Oeuvres complètes du Baron de Stassart, publiées et accompagnées d'une Notice biographique et d'un Examen critique des Ouvrages de l'auteur par P.-N. Dupont-Delporte, Paris, 1855, p. 427.
    E. Fiévet, Notice sur la vie et les ouvrages du sculpteur Laurent Delvaux, Nivelles, 1878, p. 18.
    Nivelles, 'Catalogue des oeuvres de Laurent Delvaux,' Annales de la Société archéologique de l'Arrondissement de Nivelles, 1879, I, p. 110.
    Notice sur la vie et les oeuvres du statuaire Laurent Delvaux, Brussels, 1880, p. 34.
    G. Mansuelli, Galleria degli Uffizi - Le Sculture, Rome, 1961, I, p. 137, no. 102, pl. 99.
    R. van Peteghem, 'Liste des principaux ouvrages de Laurent Delvaux,' Rif Tout Dju, Nivelles, 1978, no. 219, p. 18.
    C.-E. de Schaetzen Van Brienen, 'Laurent Delvaux 1696-1778. Un sculpteur des Pays-Bas autrichiens,' Institut Supérieur d'Histoire de l'Art et d'Archéologie de Bruxelles, 1988-1989, p. 654, no. 31.