Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887) was one of the most important and innovative sculptors of 19th century France. Dr. Anita Brookner called him a "manipulator of styles," an epithet addressing Carrier-Belleuse's versatility and fearless experimentation in the fine and decorative arts. Indeed, Carrier-Belleuse thrived during the second half of the 19th century, a time in which sculpture became more multifaceted and less dependent on an established, singular style. Whether he produced portrait busts, public monuments, sculpture or decorative wares and designs, his art engendered unequivocal praise from his contemporaries. Carrier-Belleuse exhibited at the Paris Salon beginning in 1857, the acknowledged official art sanctum which ensured future stability, public recognition and desired patronage. His business acumen and self-promotion were prophetic, and he carved his public image as boldly as his sculpture, becoming one of the most popular figures of his time.
This fine quality garniture de cheminée exemplifies Carrier-Belleuse's output during the 1860s, when his work was characterised by the influence of the Fontainebleau School, with its great attention to detail in the fine chiselling of hair and intricate folds of drapery.