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Leo Laporte-Blairsy "Vestal Virgin” Bronze Lighted Figural Sculpture

Famed American dancer and icon of the 1900s, Loïe Fuller, is featured performing her dance of veils in "Vestal Virgin,” a gilt bronze lighted sculpture by Leo Laporte-Blairsy. Her costume flows with her motion, most notably at her waist, where she catches wind with the fabric in her hands. This sculpture element is where the lightbulb is located; light pours up and down from the fabric’s motion, and Fuller’s face is cast in the glowing golden rays. This spectacular moment of light and movement is featured on a marble pedestal.

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Item #: YS-20969
Artist: Léo Laporte-Blairsy
Country: France
Circa: 1901
Dimensions: 15" height, 8" diameter.
Materials: Gilt Bronze, Marble
Signed: Leo Laporte-Blairsy / 58582 / 36
Exhibition History: Salon of the Societe des Artistes Francais in 1901.
Literature: A similar sculpture is pictured in: Dynamic Beauty: Sculpture of Art Nouveau Paris, by Macklowe Gallery, The Studley Press, 2011, p. 171. Art Nouveau, the French Aesthetic by Victor Arwas, page 270. Circa 1900.

This sculpture is a beautiful example of the classicizing aspect of the Art Nouveau style that combines mythical and modern. The artwork bears the name “Vestal Virgin” for the priestesses of Vesta, the Roman goddess of hearth and home. Per Fuller’s triumphant title of the “priestess of pure fire,” she assumes the role of the priestesses who kept Rome’s eternal flame burning. Thus Fuller’s costume is period appropriate, featuring a classical updo, a billowing tunic fastened at each shoulder with a round fibula, and leather sandals.