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François-Rupert Carabin Ceramic Fountain Basin


A very rare French ceramic fountain basin by Rupert Carabin. Francois Rupert Carabin was considered one of the most brilliant sculptors working in wood of the Art Nouveau era. His work was a celebration of natural bodily forms, erotic postures, edging towards the dangerous and threatening psyche of the spirit. This composition depicts a woman or a nymph, who at first appears to be scrubbing blood from a large rock. After careful analysis, one can decipher the shape of a uterus on the top part of the fountain. The blood emanating from the uterus symbolizes femininity and in the context of this narrative, sexuality. This composition creates a complex, dynamic volume with very gentle contours.


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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: S-19708
Artist: François-Rupert Carabin
Circa: 1898
Dimensions: 75" height, 43.25" width, 17.75" depth 
Materials: Glazed Ceramic, Wood, Metal
Signed: "R Carabin"
Literature: Ceramic fountain pictured in The work of Rupert Carabin 1862-1932, Galerie du Luxembourg, Paris, 1974 model shown under number 191 on page 233; Catalogue of the National Society of Fine Arts in 1898; E.Molinier, '' fire arts '', Art and Decoration, 1899, page 19; reproduced-catalogs of the exhibition at the museum Galliera Carabin 1934-1935  

The woman's skin is velvety while the blood feels slightly rough. The varying intensities of the warm brown tones and the sumptuous flow of oxblood red accentuate the magnificent relief created by the tussle between the nymph and the uterus. The resulting play of light bathes the scene in a twilit mood. Carabin’s esoteric work contributes to the elaboration of a narrative around the feminine body, always at the threshold between gentle eroticism and crude pornography.