Offered by Chastelain & Butes
19th and early 20th-century paintings and sculpture
A rare bronze cast of a golden lion marmoset, by Guido Righetti (1875 - 1958). This is an old Italian cast with a dark brown shaded patina, on a red marble base. Signed G. Righetti on the terrace. Also dated: 1916.
Referenced in the catalogue of the work by M. Poletti and A. Richarme on page 82.
This sculpture was exhibited at the Paul Ambroise Gallery: Un siècle de bronzes animaliers (March-April 1975); and at the Univers du Bronze (UDB) Gallery (October-November 1998). The original plaster of this sculpture is in the A.G. Poulain Museum in Vernon, France. Poulain Museum in Vernon, France.
Since 2004, UDB has been producing a posthumous edition of this sculpture.
This is an old original Italian cast, produced during the artist's lifetime by the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia in Milan.
Guido Righetti was born in Milan on 29 September 1875. Through his mother, Guido Righetti belonged to the great bourgeoisie of northern Italy, which rallied early on to the idea of Italian unity. In his youth, he frequented Casa Ricordi, a famous music publishing house, where he would have rubbed shoulders with painters, poets and musicians in artistic and literary circles.
After classical studies, Righetti became interested in drawing, and it was animals that became the focus of his work. He observed his subjects from life, both at the Milan Zoo and at the Museum of Natural History. His fortune allowed him to devote himself entirely to his passion, animal sculpture. Advised by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy, a family friend and successful sculptor who was teaching at the Academia Brera at the time, and whose influence was considerable for a time, he quickly found his own style. Righetti worked in clay, wax and plastiline and often depicted the animals that surrounded his family's country home in San Salvatore. His very fluid touch, which gives a velvety aspect to the surface of his bronzes, allows us to speak of impressionism about his sculpture. He also knows how to give personality and expression to each of his models. In time, he moved to San Salvatore, his family's country house in the barren hills of Mount Erba. The house had once been a Capuchin monastery.
He became very popular during the interwar period, when the Italian government and especially the Milanese municipality commissioned him to create statues to decorate parks, fountains and baths. However, he did not participate in any way in the glorification of the regime. A recluse, he retired to the hermitage of San Salvatore in the upper Brianza valley, which belonged to his family, where he spent most of his life in fruitful solitude. The outbreak of the Second World War, however, proved disastrous for his flourishing career.
Many of his pieces were destroyed during the bombing of Milan in 1943 and others were removed from museums for the recovery of bronze. Many of his works were melted down to recover metal for the war effort.
Ruined by the war, he was forced to abandon his hermitage in 1950 and return to live in Milan. Due to the difficult economic and political climate, he no longer received commissions for sculptures. Little is known about Righetti's output after the war, as the artist and his sculptures disappeared into obscurity. He died in Milan in 1958, forgotten and almost destitute.
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5 000 €