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The gallery will be closed Monday, 5/27 for Memorial Day
The gallery will be closed Monday, 5/27 for Memorial Day

Alexandre Clerget "Iris & Lotus" Gilt Bronze Candlesticks

Alexandre Clerget’s "Iris & Lotus" gilt bronze candlesticks showcase a pair of maidens standing atop lily pads in figure-hugging wet drapery. Their garments begin under their exposed breasts and end at their feet. The women each embrace a flower, an iris, and a lotus, with eyes closed blissfully. The flowers held at the women’s sides appear at the same scale as the women, with stems that trail gently around the women’s bare feet. Thus, the emphasis on the importance of the flowers as symbols is brought to the viewer’s attention.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: YS-20986
Artist: Alexandre Clerget
Country: France
Circa: 1900
Dimensions: 9.5" high, 6" wide, 5.5" deep
Materials: Gilt Bronze
Signed: A. Clerget. Foundry Mark , Slot-Decauville Fondeur Paris. K523 K-202
Literature: “Dynamic Beauty Sculpture of Art Nouveau Paris,” Macklowe Gallery; Macklowe pg.115 “Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: A Dictionary of Sculptors,” Pierre Kjellberg, p. 215

These candlesticks contain a hidden message conveyed through the language of their differing respective flowers. The lotus is associated with the East being the symbol of the Buddha, representing rebirth, a vital aspect of the Buddhist religion. The Iris, on the other hand, is a landmark of Western iconography due to its long-standing use in Western literature, the mention of a violet-colored flower first appears in literature in Ovid’s 8th-century chronicle of poems Metamorphoses (book 3.337) and the iris by name is mentioned in the 1616 Jardin l’hiver a collection of poetry by French poet Jean Franeau. Thus this pair of flowers and maidens suggests the unification of the East and West, perhaps celebrating the beauty of both regions.