Agathon Léonard Bronze Sculpture, series Jeu de l’echarpe
Agathon Leonard's Jeu de l’echarpe recalls the poses of the legendary eighteenth-century muse, Emma Hamilton. Beloved by society artists George Romney and Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, paintings of her Grecian poses graced the halls of noble courts from England to France. In her series known as the Attitudes, the effervescent model flitted from pose to pose, from euphoric joy to bereft melancholy, twirling about in a translucent chemise and a varicolored Kashmiri scarf. Her husband’s collection of red-figure pottery was widely published in collector’s folios. Leonard’s Jeu de l’echarpe recreates a pose from both Lord Hamilton’s pottery and Emma Hamilton’s Attitudes, recreating the dancing pose of a maenad, or bacchante in French. The maenads were the manic followers of Dionysus, god of wine, whose drunken violence spelled the end of many a mythic hero. In Greece, traditional female garments would have consisted of belted peplos (a pleated shift of wool or linen). In this case, the peplos has been accentuated by a separate piece of fabric which the maenad holds aloft so as to billow in the wind, suggesting a finer, perhaps more expensive, and beautiful fabric.
- Product Details
- Curator's Notes
Item #: S-20956
Artist: Agathon Léonard
Dimensions: 22.75" height
Materials: Gilt Bronze
Signed: in cast "A. Léonard" and "Susse Frès Edts" with impressed Susse Frères Editeurs pastille and stamped "B", with additional Syndicat des Bronziers pastille
Literature: Léonard Agathon Böstge Ingelore Héran Emmanuelle Musée d'art et d'industrie de Roubaix and Musée départemental de l'Oise. 2003. Agathon Léonard : Le Geste Art Nouveau. Roubaix Beauvais Paris: La Piscine Musée d'art et d'industrie André-Diligent ; Musée départemental de l'Oise ; Somogy éditions d'art. p. 72 plate 56
Léonard's Jeu de L'echarpe was originally conceived as a porcelain group and executed by Sèvres, first exhibited at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. The series of fifteen figures consisted of fourteen female figures presented in a dance around a central figure, on bases of three differing heights. The edition sold out at the Exposition, and was so popular that it was reproduced in various editions, and ultimately issued in gilt bronze in conjunction with the Parisian foundry Susse Frères.
The dancers of the Jeu de l'écharpe series are noted for their elegance, and their exquisite balance between classical form and Art Nouveau taste. There are several full sets in existence, one of the most important being the one presented to Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna by the French Republic during their state visit to France in September of 1901. Kept in the private apartments of the Empress at the Winter Palace, the suite is now in the Hermitage Museum, inventory number ??-12406. In addition, works by Léonard are in the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Musée de Nantes, among others.
This particular model is accompanied by two original drawings that were probably used as models for its production.