A very rare bronze with nuanced dark brown patina
Cast by the foundry Nelli Roma
Signed and dated "d’Epinay Rome 1879"
height 44 cm
length 63 cm
depth 32 cm
A similar model reproduced in "Prosper d'Epinay, un sculpteur mauricien à la cour des princes", Patricia Roux-Foujols, L'Amicale Ile Maurice-France, 1996, p.90.
Prosper d'Épinay (1836-1914) was a French sculptor and caricaturist from Mauritius. From a young age, Prosper d'Épinay liked to sculpt. He also was a caricaturist. He left to study in Paris in 1851. After a short return to Mauritius in 1857, he returned to Paris to study sculpture in the studio of Jean-Pierre Dantan. He trained in his art from 1858 to 1860 and produced caricatures of his contemporaries. He also felt an attraction for 18th century art, the influence of which will be found in his work.
In 1864, d'Epinay enjoyed his first success in London with his caricature group entitled "Entente cordiale" representing Napoleon III and Lord Palmerston, then British Prime Minister, arm in arm. Thousands of bronze casts were made by a London publisher. The real success came the same year with the statue of "Innocence" that the Duke of Luynes commissioned for his castle in Dampierre. In 1865, Prosper d'Epinay sculpted the Bust of the Princess of Wales, future queen of the United Kingdom, Alexandra of Denmark, wife of Edward VII, whose friendship opened the doors to British high society. He created the monument dedicated to his father, which was inaugurated in Mauritius in 1866, and in 1867 built the monument to William Stevenson, governor of the island. He also sculpted a large number of statuettes and portraits of oriental types.
Among Prosper d'Epinay's clients were numerous celebrities, nobles and sovereigns, which earned him the nickname "sculptor of sovereigns". In 1869, he made a bust of Empress Elizabeth of Austria. He also sculpted busts of Napoleon III, Eugénie and the Prince Imperial, kept at the Château de Compiègne. Prosper d'Epinay divided his life between Rome, Paris and London, where he settled down. He was close to Parisian legitimist circles and the Count of Chambord, but also to Prince Demidoff and the English aristocrats, often much more liberal.
The Salon of 1874 saw the crowning of his talent and determined the direction of his art. His work in Carrara marble, "Ceinture dorée", representing a young naked woman trying to close a belt, was widely known in France and abroad. In 1881, the town hall of Port-Louis in Mauritius commissioned his famous group "Paul et Virginie". Prosper d'Épinay then produced a composite statue, in marble, bronze and ivory, of Joan of Arc entitled "Jeanne d'Arc au Sacre" which he exhibited at the Salon of French artists in 1902. It was offered by a patron to the cathedral of Reims in July 1909, on the occasion of the festivals of the beatification of Joan of Arc.
Price : on request