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Spring depicted as a semi-clad female figure with garlands of flowers in her hair and left hand, standing in front of a tree trunk with a putto at her side; Summer depicted as a semi-clad female figure holding a sickle, a sheaf of corn and with a crown made of corn; Autumn depicted as a youthful Bacchus holding a goblet and grapes, with a lion skin over his shoulder, vines in his hair and standing against a tree trunk alongside a wine pitcher: Winter depicted as an old man, wrapped in a cloak, standing beside a flaming brazier;

Spring 34 1/8 in. (86.5 cm.) high; Summer 31 in. (78.8 cm.) high; Autumn 35. in. (89 cm.) high; Winter 30 ¼ in. (77 cm. high)
Almost certainly the estate of Pierre Mazeline (1632-1708), rue de Bourbon, Paris, appearing in an inventory of 29 February, 1708 and sold 2 July, 1708 (11, 870 livres).
Joseph-Marie Terray, abbé de Molesme and contrôleur général des finances under Louis XV (1715-1778), rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Paris and château de la Motte Tilly.
Antoine Jean Terray, vicomte de Rozières (1750-1794), hôtel d’Aumont, 7 rue de Jouy, Paris and sold 20 January, 1779, lot 16.
Dubois [Paris trade].
Frédéric, comte Pillet-Will (1837-1911), Hôtel Pillet-Will, 31 rue de Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, Paris.
With Wildenstein, New York.
European Private Collection.
G. Bapst, Les Quatre Saisons, statues de marbre de l’époque de Louis XIV ayant appartenu à l’abbé Terray, Paris, 1920, pp. 12-22 [as by Antoine Coysevox and dated circa 1680-90].
F. Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries: The reign of Louis XIV, vol. 3, Oxford, 1987, p. 112.

F. Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries: The reign of Louis XIV, vols. 2 and 3, Oxford, 1981 and 1987, pp. 172-192 [Jouvenet] and pp. 93-112 [Mazeline].
C. B. Bailey, ‘The abbé Terray: an enlightened patron of modern sculpture’, Burlington Magazine, vol. 135, no. 1079 (February, 1993), pp. 121-132.
C. B. Bailey, ‘Ministerial Patronage in the Private Sphere: The Abbé Joseph-Marie Terray (1718-1778)', in Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris, New Haven and London, 2002, pp. 70-100.
A. Maral, Le Versailles de Louis XIV: un palais pour la sculpture, Dijon, 2013, p. 138
G. Firmin, exh. cat., De Versailles à la Motte Tilly: L'abbé Terray, ministre de Louis XIV, château de la Motte Tilly, La Motte Tilly, 10 Jun. - 20 Sept. 2015.
New York, The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier: A Centennial Celebration of Wildenstein’s Presence in New York, 26 Oct. 2005 – 6 Jan. 2006, New York, no. 35, pp. 136-140 and back cover [entries by Joseph Baillio].
Sale room notice
This Lot is Withdrawn.

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Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

Lot Essay

There is, perhaps, no more universally appreciated and timeless subject for garden sculpture than the Four Seasons. Mazeline, an important contributor to the garden sculpture at Versailles, has here produced a more practical-scale version of the sculpture then being designed for King Louis XIV. And Mazeline’s Four Seasons, are a rare survival. Since they have spent their lives sheltered inside the salons of collectors, unlike actual garden statuary, they are in superb condition: the garden of Versailles in miniature.


As noted by Baillio, this group was, until 1994, attributed to Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720), the French sculptor celebrated for the many projects he produced for Louis XIV for the gardens of the châteaux of Versailles and Marly. However, as research by Professor François Souchal has revealed, they have now been re-attributed to Pierre Mazeline (Baillio, op. cit., pp. 136-138). Souchal’s breakthrough in identifying Mazeline as the most likely sculptor came with analyzing the inventory of Mazeline’s rue Bourbon studio done after his death on 29 February, 1708. The inventory, with the valuations provided by Barthélemy de Mélo and François Pasquier describes: ‘quatre figures de marble représentant les Saisons’ (ibid.). Souchal also notes the close resemblance of the Four Seasons to other works by Mazeline, in particular, the figures of Justice and Prudence on Mazeline’s tomb for the Chancellor Michel Le Tellier in the church of Saint-Gervais (1686-1688), and the figure of Religion on the tomb for the Duc de Créquy in the church of the Capuchins on the Place Vendôme (1688-99).

Mazeline (1633-1708), was accepted into the Royal Academy in 1668. But it was for his sculptural contributions to the gardens of the château de Versailles that he is remembered. Both Coysevox and Mazeline were part of the team of Charles Le Brun, Louis XIV’s Premier peintre du Roi, working on the royal residences and gardens, and so the confusion in attribution of these Four Seasons between Coysevox and Mazeline is understandable. While Mazeline’s most important architectural and garden sculpture projects were at Versailles, he also worked on the other royal residences of the châteaux of Saint-German-en-Laye, Marly and Meudon, as well as such prestigious ecclesiastical projects as the church of les Invalides (Souchal, 1987, op. cit.).

Intriguingly, there is also the possibility that the Four Seasons could have been sculpted by another celebrated French sculptor working at the court of Louis XIV, Noël Jouvenet. Jouvenet (d. 1716) came from a well-known family of painters and sculptors. His first cousins were all famous painters and his brother was a sculpteur chez le Roi. Jouvenet’s own title was Sculpture ordinaire du Roi and he worked for Louis XIV for nearly his entire career (Souchal, 1981, op. cit., p. 172). Mazeline and Jouvenet worked on many projects together – both royal and private commissions -- and their Paris residences were adjacent to one another and they both owned adjoining properties at Versailles as well (Souchal, 1981 and 1987, op. cit., pp. 172 and 93). Since Mazeline died unexpectedly in 1708 and, according to Souchal, ‘did not have time to dispose of the works that remained in his studio,’ it is possible the works of Mazeline and Jouvenet were not clearly delineated by ownership, or indeed authorship at the time of his death (Baillio, p. 138).

The differences between the work of Mazeline and Jouvenet are often difficult – and, in the case of joint projects, practically impossible -- to distinguish. However, there are some subtle stylistic indications to several of Jouvenet’s works that indicate the Four Seasons might point towards the hand of Jouvenet over that of Mazeline. The Four Seasons are physically more liberated than many of the marbles designed by Mazeline during this period – especially the figures of Spring and Autumn with their raised arms and, in the case of Spring, the playful putto which is charmingly informal when compared to so many of the larger garden sculpture being then produced for Versailles and other royal parks. Charles Lebrun’s designs for a group of the Four Seasons, all quite solid and more reserved figures, are, perhaps more representative of many of the sculptural programs being carried out during this period (Maral, loc. cit.). However, Mazeline was clearly not without a sense of humor, as illustrated by a pair of gilt-lead putti, done in collaboration with Etienne Le Hongre circa 1678-1680, for the roofs of two pavilions flanking the Bosquet de la Renommée at Versailles (ibid., pp. 170-171).

It may prove impossible to determine whether the Four Seasons was by Mazeline or Jouvenet as they were closely interconnected, professionally and stylistically; however both Mazeline and Jouvenet produced superb sculpture for the most discriminating audience imaginable: the Sun King, Louis XIV himself, and his court at Versailles.


The inventory of Mazeline’s studio, compiled after his death, listed the Four Seasons with a value of 1,000 livres – many times the amount of almost all the other sculpture noted (Souchal, 1987, op. cit., p. 112). This is a clear indication that Mazeline’s contemporaries highly-valued this group. And when Mazeline’s estate was settled on 2 July, 1708, they were sold for the staggering price of 11,870 livres, further evidence of their contemporary value (Baillio, op. cit., p. 136).

It is no surprise, then, that there would be other versions of this popular group. All are noted by Baillio, and that there were at least two other complete sets of the Four Seasons completed, but in bronze (ibid.). One set, of parcel-gilt bronze and slightly smaller than the present marbles, are in the Wallace Collection. The second set, sold by Maurice Segoura, Paris, and now in a private collection, were previously in Durlacher’s, Sir Valentine Abdy’s and Hubert de Givenchy’s collections. There was also a bronze cast of Summer and Autumn sold in the Leboeuf de Montgermont sale at the Galerie Georges Petit, 16-19 June, 1919, lots 346 and 347. These two are now in a private French collection. Lastly, there was a bronze of Winter sold Christie’s, Monte Carlo, 4 December, 1988, lot 166.


Joseph-Marie Terray was an exceptional figure in mid-18th century France. A brilliant politician, a shrewd courtier – maneuvering ruthlessly in the Paris salons and the palace of Versailles (Terray was a protector of Madame du Barry, the final mistress of Louis XV) -- and a hugely important collector and patron of some of the most significant painters, sculptors and architects working in France during the siècle des lumières. Terray’s origins were not modest as he was the son of a fermier-général from Lyon and the nephew of François Terray, who had made his fortune as the doctor of the Regent’s mother. But his rise to prominence was meteoric and was, as noted by Bailey, a brilliant example of the upward mobility possible for a young man with intelligence, ambition and connections (Bailey, 2002, op. cit., p. 73). He entered both the religious orders and the judiciary and soon was known as ‘la meilleure tête de Parlement’. In 1769, he was appointed Contrôleur-Général, a hugely powerful position with enormous control over the economy of France, and he set in motion a successful, and violently controversial, series of reforms to the royal finances.

In his capacity as Contrôleur-Général, he often came into conflict with the Marquis de Marigny, Louis XV’s Directeur-Général des Bâtiments, as he tried to restrain Marigny’s grand construction projects. But this conflict was resolved in Terray’s favour when he actually replaced Marigny in 1773 and became himself Directeur-Général des Bâtiments. This was a post he held for about a year and, as noted by Bailey, may have been the moment when Terray first began collecting, as there is little evidence he had made any efforts towards building a collection before this (1993, op. cit., p. 123). But Terray made up for lost time. Between 1773 and his death in 1778, Terray began commissioning works of art on a large scale. The paintings are impressive but the sculptural commissions are astonishing. Lemoyne, Pigalle, Clodion, Tassaert, Caffieri, Mouchy, Pajou were all of the most celebrated contemporary French sculptors. And they all worked for Terray, with much of the sculpture gallery designated for Terray’s new hotel on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs, designed by Le Carpentier and finished by Barré in 1773 (ibid.).

It is amongst this group of sculptures – some of the most dazzling pieces produced in late-18th century France and now scattered to museums and private collections world-wide -- that the present Four Seasons was exhibited. Mazeline and his Four Seasons can therefore be included in this august group, not only as brilliantly-carved marbles, but because they fit thematically as well. Many of Terray’s most important sculptural commissions reflect his connection to the trade of grain and, primarily, the theme of agriculture which suggests abundance and prosperity (ibid., pp. 123-125). And so, too, do Mazeline’s Four Seasons which show Spring, Summer and Autumn in all their fruitfulness. Winter is, perhaps less so, but at least he has a thick fur-lined cloak and a blazing fire to warm himself.

After the death of Louis XV in 1774, his successor, Louis XVI, dismissed Terray. Terray partly removed himself to his estate at La Motte Tilly. The château, while a gorgeous example of mid-18th century architecture by François-Nicolas Lancret, nephew of the painter, was originally designed as a hunting lodge and probably most of the collections were always intended for his Paris hôtel. After Terray’s death an inventory was made by the notaire François Charles Joullain, dated 11 March, 1778, which notes the Four Seasons located at Terray’s house on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs: No. 29, Les quatre saisons figures en marbre prisées milles livres…1000’ (Baillio, op. cit., p. 136).

Later owners included the celebrated 18th and 20th century dealers Dubois and Wildenstein, as well as the late 19th century banker, comte Pillet-Will, but it is the inclusion of the Four Seasons in Terray’s collection that marks them as representative of the most sophisticated 18th century taste imaginable.

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