Artist: MOIGNIEZ, Jules (FRENCH 1835-1894)
Title: Le Hibou (The Owl)
Date: late 19th C.
Medium: cast bronze
Signature: on the base
Dimensions: 32 ½ in. tall
Weight: about 35 lbs.
Moigniez was highly-accomplished sculptor of animals, particularly birds. Thirty of his large scale bronze sculptures were exhibited in the Paris Salon between 1855-92. Most of Moigniez's output was cast in bronze within in his father's own foundry, thus satisfying the demands of an admiring public in France, Britain and the United States.
The Owl, with its talons outstretched, conveys the ferocity of Nature as admired in the Romantic era of the late 19th C. The sculpture's remarkable detail and patina is typical of Moigniez' close observation and fine work. "His bird sculptures were among the finest ever created in his time." —Christopher Payne, Animals in Bronze, 1986.
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Artist: GAUDEZ, Adrien Étienne (FRENCH, 1845-1902)
Title: L’Étoile du Matin (Morning Star)
Date: late 19thC
Medium: cast bronze with yellow-brown patina
Dimensions: 35 inches high, including base; 15 inches across widest point
Weight: Around 40 lbs.
Born in Lyon and trained in Paris, Gaudez made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1864. His early bronzes were mostly of a classical nature, like this example of the Morning Star. By the time of its casting, Gaudez had already won the "Grand Prix" at the Salon, which meant he could enter any future work he wished at the annual art competition held by the French Academy. Evidence of that singular accomplishment can be found in the signature on the base. There, Gaudez adds the designation, "Hors de Concours," or "Beyond the Competition."
A comely female figure alights momentarily on a hemispherical base, landing softly on the ball of her left foot. Her flowing garments cling tightly to her shapely form, one worthy of Venus, the Morning Star. Her heavenly identity is reinforced by signs of the zodiac, appearing in a ribbon of very low relief images across the base. The statue is typical of that produced to satisfy the bourgeois tastes of the growing middle class of late nineteenth-century Europe.
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Venus, the Morning Star
"L'Étoile du Matin"
"Hors de Concours"
Artist: de WELDON, Felix Weihs (Austrian-born American 1907-2003)
Medium: Cold Cast Bronze
Signature: on base, with © 1990
Edition number: 172/250
Dimensions: 24 in. tall
Felix de Weldon was only in his early twenties with he earned a Ph.D from the University of Vienna's Academy of Creative Arts. By the time he settled in the United States at 30 years old, de Weldon had already achieved international fame as a sculptor. Approximately 1,200 de Weldon sculptures are located on seven countries, and another can be found in Antarctica. Perhaps his most famous monumental sculpture remains the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) in Arlington, VA commissioned after World War II.
This classically-inspired vision of Aphrodite removing her chiton was sculpted when de Weldon was in his eighties. No longer able to carry out the heavy work of his earlier bronze monuments, de Weldon began sculpting with lighter materials and on a smaller scale, about the size of a typical maquette. Here the sculptor experiments with a new medium, plastic resin. When resin is mixed with bronze, the finished sculpture even tarnishes to a degree, as does solid bronze, hence the name cold cast bronze. Gold pigments complete the gilded effect for the chiton, while another dark pigment colors the hair. Thus, the goddess of Love, is reborn for a new Age of admirers.
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