Other examples of this remarkable model with nodding head movement are recorded, but usually in the form of a figure of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the celebrated liberator of Haiti, often depicted smoking a pipe and dressed in flowing elegant robes (see D. and C. Flechon, 'La Pendule au Ngre', Bulletin de L'Association Nationale des Collectionneurs et Amateurs d'Horlogerie Ancienne, Spring 1992, p. 45, fig. 30, and that in the Royal Spanish Collection, illustated J. de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 151, cat. 129). This figure emblematic of the noble savage is a unique variant of the model, depicting grasping a bow and arrow and dressed in a sumptuous plumed and scaled costume.
Jos Maria Sert was born in Barcelona in 1876. He moved to Paris in 1900 where he pursued a successful career as a painter specializing in bold and colorful mural compositions. His most important commissions include the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (1931), and the Rockefeller center (1933). Based in Paris, Sert led a brilliant social life, entertaining on a lavish scale writers and literati alike. His apartment at 252 rue de Rivoli was famous for its eclectic mix of splendid and unusual objects, sulptures and paintings. Among them was the extraordinary pair of Louis XV ormolu three-light girandoles de chemine with winged dragons later in the Collection of M. Hubert de Givenchy (sold Christie's Monaco, 4 December 1993, lot 32).