La Nature Se Devoilant Devant La Science
La Nature Se Devoilant Devant La Science
La Nature Se Devoilant Devant La Science
La Nature Se Devoilant Devant La Science
La Nature Se Devoilant Devant La Science
La Nature Se Devoilant Devant La Science

LOUIS ERNEST BARRIAS (1841-1905)

La Nature Se Devoilant Devant La Science

c. 1900 France

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A Bronze Figure of 'La Nature se dévoilant devant la Science' by Louis-Ernest Barrias.

Signed in cast 'E. Barrias' and 'Susses Fres Ed Paris'.

This alluring bronze figure is a finely cast example of Barrias's most celebrated work, an homage to advances made in scientific exploration and a masterpiece of early art nouveau. The figure depicts a young woman, the allegory of Nature, removing her veil to reveal her face and bare breasts to the cold gaze of science.

The figure first appeared in white marble at the Paris Salon of 1893 as 'La Nature mystérieuse et voilée se découvre devant la Science' and was acquired by the faculty at l'Ecole de Médecine in Bordeaux. Barrias returned to the theme a few years later exhibiting a related sculpture at the 1899 Salon, simply titled 'La Nature se dévoilant'. Following in the spirit of pioneers of polychromy such as Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier and Eugène Cornu this figure was carved using expensive and luxurious materials such as Algerian onyx for the drapery, lapis lazuli for the ribbon and malachite for the scarab. This figure is now in the collection of the Muse d'Orsay. A final version in white marble was made in 1902 and acquired by the École de Medicine in Paris.

The first bronze casts exhibited by Susse were shown in various sizes and to great critical acclaim at the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Awarded a prestigious Grand Prix at the Liège Exhibition of 1905, the renowned bronzier Théodore Millet deemed the model a tour de force for the Susse firm and proclaimed it 'the finest of the works exhibited'.

Tracing its origins to 1758, the Paris foundry of Susse Frères is one of the oldest art foundries in Europe. They were appointed suppliers to Empress Marie Louise from 1812 and the Duc de Berry from 1818. Following the 1830 revolution they were granted a Royal Warrant as an official supplier to the monarchy. Originally a stationery company selling small bronze statuettes, the company began to focus on the process of bronze casting as early as 1839 under the direction of the brothers Michel Victor and Amedee Susse. They producing in that year a six-page catalogue of bronze sculpture.

In 1847 they obtained the right to use the Sauvage procedure for reduction, similar to that invented by Achille Collas and employed by Ferdinand Barbedienne. The ability to produce reductions of large scale bronzes enabled Susse to create editions of work in various sizes and opened up the market to collectors. Michel Victor Susse died in 1860 leaving Amedee as the sole director of the foundry until 1880 when Albert Susse became the director.

In the subsequent years Susse Frères obtained the rights to produce editions of the works of some of the most important French sculptors of the nineteenth century including: James Pradier, Pierre-Jules Mêne , Auguste Cain , Pierre-Nicolas Turgenev , Yevgeny Alexandrovich Lanceray, Louis-Ernest Barrias , Jules Dalou , Alexandre Falguière and Mathurin Moreau.

Renowned for the quality of its casting and multipatinated finishes, the firm of Susse Frères exhibited with notable success at many of the great exhibitions of the nineteenth century including a prize medal at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London and a Grand Prix at the 1905 Lieges Exposition Universelle.
P.Fusco and H.W Janson, ‘The Romantics to Rodin’, Exhib, cat. Los Angeles Museum of Art, 1980, pp. 118, 120, no. 10.

Anne Pingeot - Antoinette Le Normand-Romain - Laure de Margerie, Musée d'Orsay. Illustrated summary catalog of sculptures, Paris, 1986

Max Collignon, 'The Journal of ancient and modern art', 3rd year t. VI, No. 30, September 10, p. 191-198, Paris, 1899.

Les bronzes du XIXème par P. Kjellberg, Éd. de l’amateur 2005, page 50 Bronzes Sculptors & founders 1800-1950 par H. Berman, Abage publishers 1977 tome 3 n° 1387 page 375 La sculpture Art Nouveau par A. Duncan, Academy / Denoël 1978, page 95.
Dimensions
Height 73.00 cm (28.74 inches)
Stock Code
B74260
Medium
Gilt and Patinated Bronze
Adrian Alan

Adrian Alan
66/67 South Audley Street
London
W1K 2QX
England

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