Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) Bust of Princess Mathilde Bonaparte

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Our client's very rare, tinted plaster bust by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) of Princess Mathilde Bonaparte (1820-1904) measures 38 in (96.5 cm) tall and dates from circa 1865.  With the impressed metallic cachet for MAISON D'EMPEREUR / MUSÉES IMPÉRIAUX on rear of socle and signature JB CARPEAUX.

There is rubbing wear, scratches, stains and scattered chip losses particularly at the edges and corners of the base.

Additional images forwarded upon request.

The original plaster version by Carpeaux was acquired in 1907 by the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen from the artist's daughter, Amélie Carpeaux (MIN 1365). Further examples in plaster can be found in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1978-113-2), the Palais des Beaux-Arts Lille (Sc. 79), Le Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes (S.92.12), Carpeaux's birthplace.

Mathilde was the daughter of Jérôme Bonaparte (younger brother to Napoleon) and Catherine de Württemberg, and cousin of Napoléon III.  She presided over an important and influential salon frequented by members of the Parisian artistic elite, including Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.  Our plaster bust is a copy of Carpeaux's celebrated white marble bust of Princess Mathilde, commissioned by the Princess herself, first shown at the Paris Salon in 1863.  The bust was later shown at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1889, then remained in the collection of the Princess until 1905, when it was bequeathed to the State and shown at the Louvre, before being moved to the Musée d'Orsay in 1986 (RF 1387).

Comparative Literature: The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, J. D. Draper and E. Papet, Yale University Press, New York, 2014, pp. 208-212.  (A photo of a marble of Mathilde is shown on page 211 of this book that accompanied the exhibition of the same name held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2014.  The Met's major retrospective explored the life and work of the exceptionally giftet and tormented sculptor who defined the heady atmosphere of the Second Empire in France (1852–1871).  The first full-scale exhibition in thirty-nine years devoted to Carpeaux (1827–1875), it featured about 150 works of art,  Major international loans that had never before traveled to the United States, or had not been in the U.S. for decades, came from the Musée d'Orsay; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes (Carpeaux's birthplace); the Louvre, Petit Palais, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, Getty Museum among others.)

For another plaster work by Carpeaux, see lot 68 of Christie's sale in London on July 14, 2022, a 39 inch tall figure entitled Jeune fille a coquille (Young girl with shell) that closed at 138,600 GBP.

Item Details

Reference #:
Antiques (approx100yrs)
Circa 1865
(Width x Height X Depth)
x 38.00 x