A very fine pair of Empire gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble two-light candelabra attributed to André-Antoine Ravrio, each formed as a winged putto in contrapposto pose with his front foot on the ground and the other slightly raised as if walking, with thick curly hair, nude except for a thin gilt swag that wraps around his wings and diagonally downward across his torso to his loins, with arms outstretched and one arm slightly higher than the other, holding in both hands an upright tapering candle branch formed as a flaming torch with clusters of leaves tipped with berries below flames enclosing the circular nozzles, each putto on a cylindrical rouge griotte marble pedestal mounted with a stepped gilt border above and gadrooned border below, supported on a square base
Paris, date circa 1805
Height 44 cm, the base 13 x 13 cm. each.
Literature: Ernest Dumonthier, “Les Bronzes du Mobilier National: Pendules et Cartels, Bronzes d’éclairage et de chauffage”, 1911, pl. 24, no. 11, illustrating a similar candelabrum with running winged putto and vase-shaped candle nozzles that forms part of a writing set, in the Mobilier National. Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 325, pl. 5.1.5, illustrating a very similar pair of Empire period candelabra dated circa 1805 and attributed to André-Antoine Ravrio, now in the Residenz, Munich. Peter Hughes, “The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Furniture, London”, 1996, vol. III, no. 253 (F152-3), illustrating and describing a similar pair of candelabra from circa 1790-95 with very similar putti who stand with both feet on a plain white marble pedestal. Marie-France Dupuy-Baylet, “L’Heure le Feu la Lumière, Les Bronzes du Mobilier National, 1800-1870”, 2010, pp. 124-125, no 63, illustrating and describing a similar pair of Empire candelabra of circa 1805 with running winged putti in the Paris Mobilier National.
The charming winged putti forming the stem of these candelabra are inspired by statuettes by the sculptor Claude Michel, known as Clodion (1738–1814) who specialised in such genial characterisation and whose figures often inspired French luxury objets d’art during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Several different versions of these candelabra are known, in which the putti are either running, striding (as here) or remain stationary. Examples of the latter can be seen at the Wallace Collection, London; dating from the very end of the eighteenth century they feature wingless infants who have both feet on the pedestal but hold very similar torches except that they are spirally fluted.
The present candelabra share more in common with slightly later examples attributed to the eminent bronzier André-Antoine Ravrio (1759-1814), which are now in the Residenz Munich. Whilst they show similar winged putti who, as here, take on slightly different poses, those in the Residenz are running; they also have their front foot on a raised mound on the top of the Empire style pedestals which have mounts depicting figural Neo-classical lamps. Another pair of 1805, very similar to those in the Residenz Munich with a cockerel and swan mounted on the sides of the pedestal are in the Paris Mobilier National (illustrated in Dumonthier, op. cit, pl. 19, no. 2). The latter pair were originally owned by prince Murat and then by the Empress at the Palais de l’Elysée where they remained until sometime after 1850. By 1861 they were at the hotel des Pyramides and then in 1881 with the Garde-Meuble. Similar candelabra, again with plain pedestals but with running infants are known, counting among them a pair from the collection of D. Nieuwenhuis, Amsterdam in 1975 and two other pairs sold in 1983 of which one pair was from the Paul Wallraf collection (Sotheby’s London, 8-9th December 1983, lot 486).
18 500 €