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New In – A Barbedienne Bronze Of ‘Victory’ By Laurent Marqueste


New in today is A fine French, gilt bronze statue of Victory (Nike) by Laurent Honoré Marqueste (c1848-1920) cast by the Bardedienne foundry in Paris. . .

Signed ‘Bardedienne Fondeur Paris’ & ‘Marqueste’. . .

c.1880. . .

Measures: 47cm tall. . .

Laurent-Honoré Marqueste. . .

Was an important French sculptor in the neo-Baroque Beaux-Arts tradition. He was a pupil of François Jouffroy and of Alexandre Falguière and won the Prix de Rome in 1871. On his return he made his official debut at the Paris salon of 1874 (Jacob and the Angel). In 1893 he became a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts. He became a member of the Institute in 1894, he received the Legion of Honour in 1884, (officer, 1894; commander, 1903).

His virtuosic work, often combining two figures, tended to be executed by specialist carvers working by pointing up his models, as had become common studio practice among French sculptors in the later nineteenth century. Among his commissions are a large number of allegorical architectural figural sculptures, historical portraits (Victor Hugo, and Geographie for the Sorbonne, 1901) and others for the monumental Gare d’Orsay (now the Musée d’Orsay), the Collège des Beaux-Arts, the Grand Palais for the 1900 Exposition, and the Hôtel Dufayel, Avenue des Champs-Élysées (1906, demolished). Public monuments by Marquest are to be found also, in which was very much criticised; as well as monuments for North and South America. He was also the author of portrait busts and statues of Victor Hugo, Léo Delibes, Ferdinand Fabre and a large output of classical subjects. He gained the Grand Prix at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900.

His portrait bust, sculpted by Ernest Henri Dubois, is at the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, which also has a considerable series of statuettes and maquettes, or sculptural sketches. His papers are conserved at the Centre historique des archives nationales.

Ferdinand Barbedienne (c.1810-1892)

The Barbedienne foundry was started in Paris in 1838 by Ferdinand Barbedienne and Achille Collas, who was the inventor of a machine that would mechanically reduce statues.  They at first produced bronze reductions of antique sculptures of Greek and Roman origin.  Their first contract to produce bronzes modeled by a living artist was made in 1843 when they arranged to produce the works of Francois Rude. They barely survived the revolution and financial collapse of 1848 which caused many artists and foundries to declare bankruptcy.  Barbedienne actively pursued contracts with the many sculptors of Paris contracting with David D’Angers, Jean-Baptiste Clesinger, and even producing some casts for Antoine Louis Barye as well as others.

Achille Collas died in 1859 leaving Ferdinand Barbedienne as the sole owner of the foundry which by that time had grown to employ over 300 workers at their workshop located at 63 Rue de Lancry in Paris. Ferdinand Barbedienne was made the President of the Reunion of Bronze Makers in 1865 a post he held until 1885. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 and the shortage of raw metals caused him to have to stop making sculptures but he did receive a contract from the French government for the production of cannons which kept his foundry open. After the war he resumed his casting of sculptures and put even more effort into signing contracts with various sculptors.

Barbedienne Purchased 125 casting models from the late Antoine Louis Barye’s sale in 1876.  He set about casting and selling editions of these sculptures which was very successful, devoting an entire catalogue to these works. Ferdinand Barbedienne died on March 21 1891 and was mourned by many in the world of sculpture. It was said that he strove to the highest quality in his castings  Albert Susse said of him that he was the  “pride of the nation” and that  that he “carried the splendor of our industry so loftily to all international competitions”. The running of the foundry was taken over by Gustave Leblanc, a nephew, and continued the high standards set by M. Barbedienne.  The foundry set up agencies in Germany, Britain, and the United States to market their production. Leblanc actively purchased models and production rights form sculptors   Rodin and the estates of sculptures including Emmanuel Fremiet.  The foundry continued under the stewardship of M. Leblanc until 1952.