Nymph and Satyr
Clodion, who was brought up within a family of artists, studied at the École des élèves protégés before moving to the Académie de France in Rome, where he acquired the extensive knowledge of Classical Antiquity that was to be vital to him throughout his career. Inspired by the intimate style of the domestic sculpture of Antiquity, Clodion specialised in the execution of small statuettes in terracotta and marble that were highly regarded and sought after by enthusiasts and collectors.
The group described as “Satyre pressant le jus d’une grappe de raisin dans la bouche d’une bacchante étendue” was acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian in 1938. Although the group is signed and dated 1764, the authenticity of that date is in doubt, as are the dates of other related examples (only noted after 1840) which share a number of similarities in terms of style and imagery. In these works, the female bodies have heavy proportions and are quite different to the calm neoclassical figures of Clodion’s documented works of the 1760s. Experts suggest that the works that make up this group may have been made around 1840, perhaps for the founder Barbédienne, by an artist familiar with the bacchic groups that Clodion created in the 1780s and 90s. As is often the case with the work of imitators, these pieces form a coherent group.
First Beurdeley Sale, 23 April 1883, cat. no. 282; Second Beurdeley Sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 6 May, 1920, cat. no. 204; Galerie Charpentier Sale, 7 April 1938, cat. 607. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Marcel Jonas.
H. 23 cm; W. 40 cm; D. 24.9 cm
H. Thirion – Les Adam et Clodion. Paris : A. Quantin, 1885, no. 168, p. 396.
Stanislas Lami – Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de l’Ecole Française au Dix-Huitième Siècle. Paris : 1911 (Nendeln/Liechtenstein, Kraus reprint, 1970), p. 142-57.
Philippe Arnaud – Terres cuites de Clodion. « L’Estampille », no. 222, février 1989, p. 14-18.
Maria Rosa Figueiredo – A Escultura Francesa. Catálogo de Escultura Europeia. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1992, vol. I, p. 76-82.
Anne L. Poulet - Les annés romaines de Clodion. In Clodion 1738-1814, (exhibition catalogue). Paris : Éditions RMN, 1992, p. 15-34.
Guilhelm Scherf - A la manière de Clodion. In Clodion 1738-1814. Paris : Éditions RMN, 1992, p. 361-75, no. 193, p. 371.