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Céline Lepage "Le Femme de Marrakech" Bronze Sculpture

This monumental bronze sculpture features a Moroccan woman standing, her garment tightly binding her body with the silhouette of her palm pushing the wrap closed. It is the seminal work of the sculptor Céline Lepage, the young artist who spent significant time in Tunisia and Morocco alongside her husband, a French army officer. Upon returning to Paris, she crafted four sculptures influenced by her overseas experiences, showcasing them at the 1919 Salon d'Automne and the 1923 Salon des Tuileries. One of her pieces, a glazed ceramic variation of "La femme de Marrakech," reflects Lepage's original inspiration. This particular work draws from the traditional attire of women in Moroccan cities like Chefchaouen, Essaouira, and Figuig, where they wear a haik—a white rectangular fabric covering their entire body. Originating from Ottoman times, the haik was donned by urban women when venturing outside, symbolizing purity. In its white and cream color, the women blended into the whitewash plaster walls of their city's architecture. The white color appealed to the western artist as it could be easily likened to the tunics of Greco-Roman sculpture and the Christian headdresses of Lepage's native France.

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  • Curator's Notes

Item #: S-21422
Artist: Céline Lepage
Country: France
Circa: 1920
Dimensions: 32" height, 8.5" width, 8.5" depth
Materials: Patinated Bronze, Ebonized Wood
Signed: "Celine Lepage” and Modele 2366
Literature: 1930: Quand le Meuble Devient Sculpture, 1981 exhibition catalogue, Paris, ill. 56.

John Singer Sargent depicted a woman in a haik in his acclaimed painting "Fume d'ambre gris," showcased at the Paris Salon of 1880. The painting was so well received, it sold for the astounding sum of 3000 francs.