Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Felix-Maurice Charpentier, 'Flours Que Amavo'

There are a few sculptors who go the extra mile. My list is not complete yet, but Bernini and Clodion are good examples of what I mean and equate in Music to Bach and Mozart.

Here is a new addition to my list Felix-Maurice Charpentier 1858-1928.

In 1912 (a very good year for lots of reasons in the world of Art) he exhibited this unique marble, 93 inches, with the tile of “Flours Que Amavo” (in the Languedoc vernacular).

An important point is that I assume Charpentier cut this himself. It is a one off, although a metre high copy in plaster was made subsequently and is now thought to be in the Musee Calvert.

Sotheby’s write up is naturally ‘up beat’ in their 2005 catalogue and so in my opinion it should be.
I borrow their line as I can’t do it better;

Charpentier successfully communicates the synergy between the visual sense of the female form with the perceived smell as she inhales the bouquet of flowers, her eyes closed in an expression of ecstasy. This heightening of the senses is explored further with the treatment of the marble; the roughly hewn background contrasting both with the impressionistic carving of the flowers and the smooth sensual execution of her body.

…and I would add… the ‘tip toe’ pose which I usually dislike but find in this case wholly appropriate. I feel that this is almost 'in the round' and not a relief in the true sense.

.. and to the lucky new owner;
I hope you appreciate this magnificent work as much as I would and allow your guests to see it.

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Blogger Robert said...

Chris Miller sent the following which I dumped by accident- apologies-

"Another pitiful exhibition of decadence of ideals if not of craftsmanship is shown in the veritable rake's progress of Charpentier. His early success, "Illusion," was a figure of much beauty. His next offering, the "Shooting Star," was perhaps quite as well modeled, but suggests a clock top. This was followed by "Voluptuousness" (Fig. 102), skillfully done but hardly a great sculptural thought; and finally the world was gladdened by "The Bicycle" (Fig. 101), which all too loudly speaks for itself. Perhaps it is as well that we have no later works to present."
... Laredo Taft, "Modern Tendencies in sculpture"

9:23 am  
Blogger Robert said...

I suppose that the decadent eras have been periods when the art produced particularly appeals to me.

The art of war torn Europe of the 20c lacks appeal. The display of Art largely concocted before the 14/18 war in San Francisco in 1915 Exposition is proof of that decadence. Mr Taft’s opinions are worthy of note and much of his own work exemplary, but of a puritanical bent not a ‘Catholic’ one.

So he would say that wouldn’t he?

I love the Belle Epoch, Artists like Alphonse Mucha example here.
I approve of Taft’s work and his desk (I have one exactly like it) but some of his opinions are of a different time for me.

10:17 am  

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