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    Sale 7466

    Le Goût Steinitz, III

    6 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 435

    A PLASTER BUST OF SABINE HOUDON

    WORKSHOP OF JEAN-ANTOINE HOUDON (1741-1828), LATE 18TH OR EARLY 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A PLASTER BUST OF SABINE HOUDON
    WORKSHOP OF JEAN-ANTOINE HOUDON (1741-1828), LATE 18TH OR EARLY 19TH CENTURY
    Depicted with ringletted hair held back by a ribbon; her head turned to sinister and with bare shoulders; the reverse with the remains of a wax workshop seal and the remains of a paper label; on a circular plaster socle; minor damages
    21½ in. (54.6 cm.) high


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    Jean-Antoine Houdon was the most important French sculptor of the 18th century and he is particularly noted for the originality and intimacy of his portraits. Unsurprisingly, among the most spontaneous of these are the portraits he executed of his close friends and family including the children of the architect Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart, and his own daughter Sabine.

    Houdon executed busts of all three of his daughters, and he did several of Sabine at intervals from the age of only 10 months. However it is perhaps the present composition, portraying her at four years of age, which most captures the imagination. With her loosely ringletted hair framing her face and falling over her bare shoulders, the sculptor is able to contrast the textures of the hair and her infant skin. Her facial expression is both intent and expectant.

    Variant examples exist portraying Sabine with bare shoulders, as here, and with a simple chemise. The best known examples are the plaster bust in the Louvre and a marble in the Huntington Museum, California, both of which can be traced back to the family of the artist (Giacometti, loc. cit.). The popularity of the model is attested to by the number of examples known in plaster, marble and bronze.

    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

    Jules Strauss Collection.


    Literature

    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    G. Giacometti, La Vie et l'Oeuvre de J.-A. Houdon, Paris, 1929, II, p. 78.
    R. R. Wark, Sculpture in The Huntington Collection, Los Angeles, 1959, pp. 80-81, pls. XLIV-XLVI.
    L. Réau, Houdon - Sa vie et son oeuvre, Paris, 1964, III, p. 50, no. 230, pl. CXXV.
    Washington, Los Angeles and Versailles, The National Gallery of Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Musée et Domaine du Château de Versailles, Jean-Antoine Houdon - Sculptor of the Enlightenment, 4 May 2003 - 30 May 2004, Anne Poulet ed., p. 135, fig. 3.