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    Sale 7710

    19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Works of Art and Ceramics Including Property from The Palazzo of a Milanese Noble Family

    19 March 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 100

    A MONUMENTAL ITALIAN ENAMEL, SILVER, GILT AND PATINATED BRONZE CENTREPIECE, ON A PARCEL-GILT AND PAINTED WOODEN STAND

    ATTRIBUTED TO EUGENIO BELLOSIO, MILAN, CIRCA 1900

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A MONUMENTAL ITALIAN ENAMEL, SILVER, GILT AND PATINATED BRONZE CENTREPIECE, ON A PARCEL-GILT AND PAINTED WOODEN STAND
    ATTRIBUTED TO EUGENIO BELLOSIO, MILAN, CIRCA 1900
    Of tripartite form, surmounted by a robed figure of Fame resting on a star-studded globe with a Zodiac band, flanked by three putti atop a fluted column flanked by scrolled volutes headed by floral garlanded ram's-masks, three enamelled cartouches in between inscribed Industriae, Agricultura and Artes, the mid-section mounted with three busts atop laurel garlanded truncated columns with enamel plaques below inscribed Sapientia, Historia and Perseverantia, the lower sections mounted with three figural groups each with attributes emblematic of industry, agriculture and the arts respectively, each with further enamel plaque below inscribed Exposition/Universelle/Paris/1900, L'ETUDE/ET LE TRAVAIL/FONT GRANDES/LES/NATIONS and APOTHEOSE/DU/GÉNIE, the border below inset with shields enameled with the Arms of thirty-six countries or states, divided by three cartouches flanked by a pair of putti and enclosing enamel portraits plaques of Muses with corresponding title plaques inscribed Astronomia, Musica and Poésie, resting on three spread-winged eagle feet, the stand with gold velvet-covered revolving top, on fluted column support flanked by triple lion's monopodiae
    The centrepiece: 43 in. (110 cm.) high; 36 in. (91.5 cm.) diameter
    The stand: 36 in. (92 cm.) high


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    The Milanese cesellatore, orafo and bronzista Eugenio Bellosio (1847-1927) was titled by one obtituary 'the Cellini of Lombardy'. A pupil of Giovanni Bellezza (1807-1876), who completed the magnificent 'Altar of the Madonna dell'Albero' for the Duomo in Milan, Bellosio also worked at the Duomo, producing twelve monumental torchères in gilt and patinated bronze.

    Prior to coming for sale this magnificent centrepiece is thought to have remained unrecorded in the same important Milanese Palazzo since the early 1900s. Although apparently unsigned, this connection to the city of Milan, together with the exceptionally fine detail of the silver and bronze work, similarities to recorded examples and documentary evidence, supports an attribution to Bellosio. Conclusively, a journalist for the magazine Illustrazione Italiana wrote to Bellosio in October 1900 and, referring specifically to the centrepiece by the title it bears - Apothéose du Genie, commended it as one of the most beautiful objects he had seen at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle.

    This monumental centrepiece is a defining object of the 1900 Exposition Universelle - the greatest 'great exhibition' of them all. Surmounted by a winged figure of Fame, with enamel portrait plaques honouring Astronomy, Music and Poetry above three silver figural groups emblematic of Art, Industry and Agriculture and set with shields enamelled with the Arms of thirty-six countries, it perfectly encapsulates the principals of the 1900 Exposition Universelle in its personification virtue, opulent triumphalism and commemoration of nations.

    A contemporary catalogue describes the centrepiece as a celebration of human endeavour and ingenuity:

    APOTHÉOSE DU GENIE

    "Cette oeuvre glorifie le triomphe du Génie fêté aujourd'hui par les fils de France. La base, soutenue par des aigles, exprime l'audace sur laquelle posent les pavillons de toutes les nations qui concoururent unanimes à présenter les produits de leur esprit. Cet esprit est représenté par Musique, la Poésie, et l'Astronomie qui dominent, comme des reines, dans les trois compartiments. Trois groups représentent les beaux arts, les arts industriels et les arts agricoles. Plus haut les trios bustes: l'Historie, la Sagesse, la Persevérance, assurent aux peuples que la gloire d'une grande nation a pour base l'étude et le travail. Le Génie constant éclairant la pensée, d'en haut, glorifie et recompense.

    La partie artistique-decorative de cette oeuvre est en argent; l'architecture et la charpente en bronze doré."

    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.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN, REMOVED FROM AN IMPORTANT MILANESE PALAZZO
    'APOTHÉOSE DU GÉNIE', FOR THE 1900 PARIS EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE