Vincenzo Gemito (1852-1929) has been regarded as the most important sculptor in Italy around the turn of the century. His first example of the water vendor was executed for the former king of Naples, Francesco II of Bourbon, who lived in exile in Paris. The original, in wax, is now in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome and was used to cast bronzes until 1886. (Edwin M.T. Becker, 'Carpeaux-Gemito-Rodin-Minne-Stuck Sculptuur-aanwinsten in het Van Gogh Museum', Antiek, nr. 3, oktober 1994, pp. 58-72)
An example virtual similar to the one on offer is in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and illustrated in Blhm, A., The Colour of Sculpture 1840-1910, Amsterdam, 1996, p. 196.