The last decades of the 19th century saw the relations between the Fine Arts, here sculpture, and the so-called industrial arts, earthenware production, flourish brilliantly. This Mandolin player is a perfect example. Created by the sculptor Adrien Etienne Gaudez, this young woman, dressed in troubadour fashion, was first made in plaster before being produced in different versions in bronze, by the Susse foundry among others. The mandolin player from the Vauclair Gallery is the only known example in earthenware. Its colours and its workmanship invite us to attribute its execution to the faience factory of Sarreguemines.
Adrien Etienne Gaudez, born in Lyon on February 9, 1845, entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts on October 2, 1862 and was a pupil of Jouffroy. He exhibited his Nymph Egeria for the first time at the Salon of 1864. During the war of 1870-1871, he was taken prisoner and interned in Magdeburg.
Back in France, he exhibited regularly until 1899. He won a gold medal at the 1889 Universal Exhibition and another at the 1900 Universal Exhibition. Several of his sculptures were acquired by the State and the City of Paris.
Gaudez is also the author of many public monuments in the provinces, such as Florian's monument in Alais (1896).
Until the 1880s, it seems that Gaudez favoured neoclassical subjects of mythological inspiration. As for the Mandolin Player, she must be included in a second phase of her career, more influenced by recent history or the Middle Ages. It was certainly during the last two decades of his life that Gaudez established links with the art industries, both ceramic and bronze, in order to disseminate his work and improve his standard of living. Adrien Etienne Gaudez died in Neuilly, 56 Boulevard d'Argenson, at the end of January 1902.
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