In 1865, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux was commissioned to model one of four monumental reliefs for the façade of Charles Garnier's Opéra in Paris. The resulting allegorical group, completed in the summer of 1869 and collectively titled La Danse, incorporated the three works offered in lots 253 through 255.
Anchored by Génie de la danse encircled by Les Trois Grâces with L'amour à la folie seated at their feet, Carpeaux's masterpiece met with strong criticism. The fleshy, dancing bacchantes alone solicited the harshest reviews and they were immediately deemed too 'bold, suggestive and even indecent' for a public monument. Additionally, the completed monument posed a significant financial burden for Carpeaux as its production cost almost three times his compensation. In an attempt to recoup expenses, the artist began marketing reductions in bronze, terracotta and marble of various segments of the completed group, many of which were subsequently exhibited in the Salons and International Exhibitions.
Despite the façade's adverse reception and Carpeaux's financial shortcomings, the longevity and popularity of the group posthumously endured and Susse Frères acquired many of the artist's most prized modèles from his estate between 1911 and 1914. In October of 1914, Susse entered into contract with his children, M. Louis Carpeaux and Mme. Clément Carpeaux, which awarded the foundry the rights to reproduce a number of the the artist's works until 1925, the present finely-cast examples of Les Trois Grâces' and Génie de la danse (lots 254 and 255) among them.
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE CALIFORNIA ESTATE (LOTS 248-254)
S. Lami, Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs d'Ecole Française, Paris, 1914.
P. Cadet, Susse Frères: 150 Years of Sculpture, Paris, 1992.