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A BRONZE FIGURE OF A FAUN
A BRONZE FIGURE OF A FAUN

WORKSHOP OF ADRIAEN DE VRIES (1556-1626), EARLY 17TH CENTURY

Details
A BRONZE FIGURE OF A FAUN
WORKSHOP OF ADRIAEN DE VRIES (1556-1626), EARLY 17TH CENTURY
On a later square mottled red marble base; dark brown patina with traces of a translucent reddish lacquer
19 in. (48.3 cm.) high; 24¼ in. (61.5 cm.) high, overall
Provenance
Sotheby's London, 12 December 2003, lot 193.
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
L. O. Larsson, Adrian de Vries, Munich 1967, no. 11, p. 119, pls. 7-8.
W. von Bode, Italian Bronze Statuettes of the Renaissance, rev. by J. Draper, New York, 1980.
K. Corey Keeble, European Bronzes in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 1982, no. 54, pp. 112-3.
Berlin, Skulpturensammlung, Von Allen Seiten Schön: Bronzen der Renaissance und des Barock, 31 Oct. 1995 - 28 Jan. 1996, no. 152, p. 441.
Amsterdam, Stockholm and Los Angeles, Rijksmuseum, Nationalmuseum and J. Paul Getty Museum, Adriaen de Vries (1556-1626) Imperial Sculptor, 12 Dec. 1998 - 9 Jan. 2000, no. 4, pp. 112-114.
J. Bassett, The Craftsman Revealed, Adriaen de Vries, 2008, pp. 62-71.
E. P. Bowron, Renaissance Bronzes in the Walters Art Gallery, 1978, pp. 54-55.

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Lot Essay

In his travel diary of 1617 the Augsburg patrician Philipp Hainhofer mentioned seeing 'a faun and nymph holding a mirror by de Vries' (Larsson, op. cit, p. 13) in the collection of the architect Giovanni Maria Nosseni. Two other examples of this group were later recorded in Nosseni's inventory of 1621. All three casts were acquired by Johann Georg I, the Elector of Saxony, and one group was subsequently recorded in the 1640 inventory of the Grünes Gewölbe in Dresden (48.2cm.; inv.no. IX 36), where it stands to this day.

Aside from the cast in the Grünes Gewölbe there are known examples of the faun in the Skulpturensammlung, Dresden (inv. no. ZV 3205, once paired with a nymph), the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (47cm.; inv. no. L974.1.86); the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore (47cm.; Bowron, loc. cit.), and previously in the Yves Saint Laurent collection, where it was paired with a figure of Bacchus after a model by Willem Tetrode (d. before 1588).

A radiograph of the Grünes Gewölbe faun has shown wax-to-wax joints that suggest it was made by the indirect lost wax method (Bassett, loc. cit, fig. 8.2). There was therefore a mould of the faun from which other versions could have been cast. The present cast is closest to the faun in the Walters Art Gallery, in particular in the details of the hand and the treatment of the leaves of the wreath.

The similarity in patination and finish between the known casts of this highly innovative and wonderfully modelled figure suggest that they were made at the same time, and originate from de Vries' workshop.

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