A COLLECTION OF TERRACOTTA RELIEF PORTRAITURE AND BUSTS
Many of the pieces from this delightful group are from the celebrated workshop of Joseph Chinard (1756-1813). Like the career of Chinard himself, the personalities represented here span the last years of the Ancien Régime, the upheaval of the Revolution and the subsequent turbulent years of the Directoire and Consulat periods and, perhaps most famously, the Napoleonic Empire. Chinard was commissioned to represent the royal family, aristocrats, politicians and the new military and bureaucratic elite. Besides Napoleon and his family, certainly his most famous sitter was Mme Recamier, the dazzling Empire beauty. Yet he sculpted a wide range of society including politicians, members of the bourgeoisie, artists and charming informal portraits of young men and women, most of whom remain anonymous. Jean-Baptiste Nini (1717-1786) was also celebrated for his relief plaques. These, however, are jewel like -- almost razor-sharp -- in their precision and attention to detail and differ from the larger scale and more loosely modeled visages of Chinard.
Some of the following reliefs probably come from the collection of the Comte de Penha-Longa, who amassed what was certainly the most important collection of Chinard terracottas in the 20th century. These were sold in a landmark sale at the Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, on 2 December 1911.
PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION