Style Napoleon III / Ref.11646
Maison DENIERE - "Sappho", clock set after the model by Pierre-Alexandre SCHOENEWERK
Width: 9'' ½ 24cm
Height: 23'' ¼ 59cm
Depth: 8'' ¼ 21cm
France, Second half of the 19th century.
Good condition. The glass closing the clockwork is missing.
This beautiful clock set was made out of gilded bronze, silvered bronze and engraved onyx. Napoleon III style, the set is made of a clock and two candelabra. The clockwork is signed "DENIERE A PARIS" designating the famous Parisian bronzier Guillaume Denière (1815 - 1903).
The clock is surmounted by a silvered and gilded bronze statuette representing Sappho, the Greek poetess of antiquity who lived in the 7th century and 6th century BC. in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, whose model is due to the sculptor Pierre Alexandre Schoenewerk.
The theme of Sappho as a subject of representation in the arts is particularly popular in the second half of the 19th century, as evidenced by the many artists illustrating this historical and lyrical theme at the same time. In painting, Gustave Moreau is largely inspired by this theme since he makes several sketches and paintings depicting different episodes from Sappho’s life. Théodore Chassériau, Joseph-Thomas Chautard, and Antoine-Jean Gros are all 19th-century famous painters also inspired by this subject.
In sculpture, James Pradier made several Sappho including the famous marble statue exhibited in 1852 and now preserved in the Orsay Museum, Paris ; Eugène-Antoine Aizelin, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux or Auguste Clésinger will also illustrate their talent with this subject.
The Sappho statuette represented on our clock and which model is due to Schoenewerk is a direct result of this tradition and of the taste for this subject. Moreover, the relationship between this one and the seated Sappho by James Pradier allows us to think that Schoenewerk was very inspired by the latter.
Born in 1820, Pierre-Alexandre Schoenewerk is a student of David d'Angers from whom he learns sculpture. He debuted at the Salon of 1841 presenting Agar, a plaster statue, and will thereafter be protected by Princess Mathilde, cousin of Napoleon III, explaining his great success under the Second Empire. He received several commissions for the Louvre Palace, the Paris City Hall and the Opera House. The Young Tarentine, his major work now preserved in the Orsay Museum, is exhibited at the Salon of 1872 and at the World’s Fair of 1878.
The Maison Denière, created in 1804 by Jean-François Denière (1774-1866), then taken over in 1844 by the son, Guillaume Denière (1815 - 1903), is a specialist in furnishing bronzes, such as, candelabra, lamps, torches, clocks and centerpieces. Building on its success, Maison Denière also partners with talented artists to edit their works as it’s most likely the case for this clock set and this Sappho.
Bronzier of the reigning houses, Denière supplies the bronzes for Charles X's Coronation Coach, makes several deliveries for the Crown furniture under the July Monarchy, and numerous furnishing bronzes for the Tuileries under the Second Empire. Consecrated at the World's Fair in 1855 by winning a medal of honor, it was again rewarded at the World’s Fair of 1862. Its contributions to the Universal Exhibitions were always expected and noticed as well as those of the Maison Barbedienne.
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