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THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN LADY OF TITLE
A RARE FRENCH WHITE MARBLE BUST OF A YOUNG BOY, ENTITLED 'LE BOUDEUR', by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, the little boy with tousled hair, his head turned slightly to the left, signed and dated on the truncation of the left shoulder J B. CARPEAUX ROMA 1856, on turned white marble socle and rouge marble base, circa 1856

Details
A RARE FRENCH WHITE MARBLE BUST OF A YOUNG BOY, ENTITLED 'LE BOUDEUR', by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, the little boy with tousled hair, his head turned slightly to the left, signed and dated on the truncation of the left shoulder J B. CARPEAUX ROMA 1856, on turned white marble socle and rouge marble base, circa 1856
13 1/8in. (33.3cm.) high
Provenance
Acquired from Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux circa 1856 and thence by descent
Literature
S. Lami, Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de L'École Française, Paris, 1914, p. 263
L. Clément-Carpeaux, La Vérité sur l'Oeuvre et la Vie de Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Paris, 1934, p. 64
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
New York, Shepherd Gallery, Western European Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century, 1973, no. 39
Valenciennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Catalogue des Peitures et Sculptures de Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux à Valenciennes, 1978, no. 74, p. 23
Nice, Galerie des Ponchettes, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, 1980, no. 11 Paris, Musée d'Orsay, Catalogue sommaire illustré des sculptures, 1986, no. RF 1985, p. 80
C. Jeancolas, Carpeaux, La Farouche Volonté d'Être, Lausanne, 1987, p. 90

Lot Essay

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) won the coveted Prix de Rome in 1855, and moved to Rome in January 1856. The Child Pouting, known variously as Le Boudeur, L'Enfant Boudeur and Le Petit Boudeur, was Capeaux's first work in Rome. Louise Clément-Carpeaux (op. cit.) recounts that as part of his training Carpeaux was asked to execute a study of a head: "... du moment que les règlements lui imposent également 'une tête d'étude, exprimant un sujet', il va modeler Le Boudeur, qu'il hésite à dénommer Brutus enfant, tant le caractère romain antique est accusé dans ce petit visage crispé et têtu". The present bust does, in fact, reveal a debt to the type of Roman busts of children dating from the First century AD, particularly in the purity of form and material, though it is animated by a mood unknown in the Ancient world.
The present marble is the original 1856 head by Carpeaux mentioned by Clément-Carpeaux and listed in Lami (op. cit.). We know that this piece was not exhibited at the Salon, but nevertheless, remained one of Carpeaux's favourite works, of which he executed three copies in marble. One of these, he gave to his long-time fiancée, Amélie de Montfort, is dated 1869 and is now in the Petit-Palais; another, undated, but exhibited at the Exposition Centennale de l'art français in Paris in 1900, is now in the Musée de Valenciennes and finally, a third is listed by Lami, as dated 1874 and in the collection of M. F. Rainbeaux.
The popularity of the model resulted in terracotta and bronze versions edited by Carpeaux from 1873, and also an edition in biscuit by Sèvres. Both the marble Valenciennes version, and the ones in bronze and terracotta differ from the present original. They all show the child wearing a tunic, are slightly smaller in size and the cast versions have an integral socle inscribed LE PETIT BOUDER.
Besides the Antique inspiration, the present marble reveals Carpeaux's admiration for the sculptors of the Renaissance. It is carved in a delicate, almost sketch-like manner, reminiscent in its sponteneity to the marble carving of Donatello and Desiderio da Settignano. The hair, dimpled flesh and frown are lightly engraved on the surface, capturing with masterly freshness the fleeting expression of a young child and exploiting to advantage Carpeaux's favourite material, white marble, particularly in its absorption and reflection of light. This is an important rediscovered early work by Carpeaux, revealing his renowned technical and imaginative skills.
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