Style Louis-Philippe / Ref.15737
Extraordinary marble bust by LESCORNE Joseph
Width: 18'' ⅛ 46cm
Height: 33'' ⅛ 84cm
Coming from the 'Maison Opéra' private townhouse of the Bourlon de Rouvre family, Paris, 8th arrondissement.
Signed: “Lescorné Paris 1833”.
Statuary Carrara marble.
Signed by Joseph-Stanislas Lescorné and dated 1833, this exceptional bust owes its beauty as much to its form as to the quality of the carving. Coming from the Maison Opéra, the Paris townhouse built around 1870 in the Second Empire style for Léopold Bourlon de Rouvre, it represents a woman who is richly dressed in the most exquisite manner and illustrates the fashions that were popular in the middle of the 19th century, complete with the feathers, flowers and jewels that wealthy women wore during the romantic period.
The woman’s features are extremely fine: her smooth skin makes a striking contrast to the lace on her clothing and the feathers in her headdress that is especially elaborate with four flowers, yet more lace and fine pearls. The outstanding virtuosity of the sculptor’s chisel is especially noteworthy in the execution of the hair: each curl is brilliantly sculpted. The attention to the detail of her outfit and the choice of the most luxurious accessories attest to the social status of the model and of a certain pleasure in showing this off. The lace that incorporates a butterfly motif, the symbol of love, is the result of meticulous sculpting using a trepan bit. Thanks to the fine quality of the sculpture, the smallest details are revealed that allow one to see the textures, the sparkle of the precious stones and the smoothness of the peals. The bust is, without a doubt, the result of a delicate and refined execution that gives this bust its exceptional character.
Probably a private commission, this bust was likely in place at the Hôtel Bourlon de Rouvre from the time of its inception, in 1870, and thus represents a major rediscovery in Lescorné’s work. Made at the beginning of his career as a sculptor, it represents a feminine figure, which is rare in his artistic output. Until now, this work has never before been listed in Lescorné’s oeuvre.
Born in Chaumont (Haute-Marne) on March 23, 1820, Léopold Bourlon de Rouvre was the son of Jacques-Louis, a police commissioner and, later, secretary-general. The close proximity of the estate of the Bourlon de Rouvre family of Chaumont and Lescorné’s native town of Langres seems to indicate that it was the family itself who commissioned the bust and that it remained in situ from the time it was delivered.
Born on September 16, 1799, Joseph-Stanislas Lescorné was first employed in his father’s woodworking shop. At the same time, he took lessons in drawing and modeling at the art school in his native village. In 1822, he came to Paris and became the student of Pierre Cartellier and Louis Petitot at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1827 when showed his Christ at the Column, a plaster statue that was more than two meters high. Soon after, Lescorné was chosen to execute several state commissions, notably a statue of Charles X for the town square at Cambrai (lost in 1830).
From then on, he specialized in portrait busts, often commissioned from the highest ranks of the government. This was how the commission from the King’s Household came about for a bust of Philippe V, King of Spain, in 1835. This bust was shown along with a bust representing Edme Bouchardon at the Salon of 1836, the same year he won a Second Class Medal. His success with the public was assured when he exhibited a statue of Andromeda at the Salon of 1839 in Parian marble. This made a great impression and was immediately purchased by the State and then sent to the Musée de Narbonne where it is still conserved. In 1847, Lescorné was asked to make a statue of Marguerite de Valois for the Luxembourg Gardens, which he completed in 1849. He continued to work actively until the end of his life and he exhibited at the Salon until 1870.
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