The present centrepiece is a fine example of the collaboration between Christofle and a leading contemporary artist for an agricultural award. Annual agriculture shows were held for almost half a century, only ceasing with the onset of World War I. Every agricultural activity and sector was included in these events, as evidenced by the various names given to Christofle's productions, including: Grooming the Pig, The Scyther, Watering, Agricultural Science, and The Butcher. Three Christofle pieces designed by Mallet and Calton for the Competition of 1898 included a planter with rams, a vase with ewes, and a vase with oxen (see Bouilhet, pp. 180-1). Christofle also collaborated with the sculptor Delaplanche in producing a figure group titled Science and Agriculture, a prize for an agriculture show circa 1900 (see Bouilhet, p. 200).
Paul Gasq (d. 1944) specialised in figures and bas-reliefs of classical and allegorical subjects. He studied at the Dijon School of Fine arts and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Jouffroy and Hiolle, and exhibited at the Salon beginning in 1880. Gasq won the Prix de Rome in 1890, and a Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle of 1900, becoming a member of the Institut in 1935.
See lot 67 for a note on Christofle.