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CIRCA 1700

CIRCA 1700
The elaborately carved frame surmounted by the mask of Apollo or Perseus, the apron with the mask of Medusa, flanked by martial trophies and with classical and mythological masks to the corners, with associated plate, with label to reverse EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE DU CADRE DU XV AU XXE SIECLE (AVRIL 1931) N. 137 GALERIE GEORGES PETIT, PARIS
46 in. (117 cm.) high; 48 in. (122 cm.) wide
Marie-Cécile von Springer (1886-1978), wife of Baron Eugène Fould (1876-1929), l'avenue d'Ièna, Paris, from at least 1931.
Baron Max Fould-Springer (1906-1999); sold Christie's Paris, 11 March 2003, lot 234.
S. Roche, Cadres Français et Etrangers, du XVe au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1931, pl. 13 (property of Madame la Baronne Fould-Springer).
Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition Internationale du Cadre du XVe au XXe siècle, April 1931, no. 137
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Jamie Collingridge
Jamie Collingridge

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Lot Essay

This monumentally carved frame, with its incredible richness and crispness of detail, is a tour-de-force and triumph of the art and skill of the sculpteur in early 18th-century France. The overall design of the frame, in particular features such as the military trophies to the sides and shields to the angles, can be found in designs by François-Antoine Vassé (1681-1736) for bas-relief carved trophies in sandstone in the chapel at Versailles, as well as in designs by Vassé for the boiserie at the Hôtel de Toulouse in Paris (1717-19).

Carved in deep relief the frame is surmounted by the mask of a youthful hero, either Apollo or Perseus, while the apron is centred by the mask of Medusa, the Gorgon monster with living venomous snakes in place of hair. She was beheaded by Perseus who used her head as a weapon to defeat the sea-monster sent by Poseidon to kill his beloved Andromeda, before giving it to the goddess Athena who placed it on her shield. The depiction of her here staring straight at the onlooker is loosely based on Caravaggio's 1597 painting of Medusa, now in the Uffizi, Florence.

In 1931, Etienne Bignou, owner of Galerie Georges Petit, in collaboration with the decorator Serge Roche, organised an exhibition on the history of the frame in Europe from the end of the Middle Ages. Roche lent some pieces from his own collection and published his first book entitled Cadres français et étrangers, du XVe au XVIIIe siècle (ed. E. Bignou, Paris, 1931), including the present frame lent by Marie-Cécile Fould-Springer, almost certainly from her Paris residence on l'avenue d'Iéna.

The Austrian Marie-Cécile von Springer and her French husband Eugène Fould (elevated to Baron Fould-Springer by Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria) had acquired works of art inherited from their families but also collected works of art themselves during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They had four children - Max, Hélène, Thérèse and Liliane - and the family divided their time between Paris and the Palais Abbatial de Royaumont, which the couple purchased in 1924.


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