Art Nouveau Nude


A beautifully cast bronze having a dark brown patina of a young woman almost leaping in the air, her right foot standing on a ‘rocky outcrop’, her right arm holding a stick of some kind, her left leg outstretched behind and her left arm holding what looks like a racket. From the joyous expression on her face it looks like she is participating in some sporting or playing event that we cannot relate to today.

The bronze is very typical of the work of Ernest Barrias (1841-1905) who was largely known for he voluptuous women figures used in many of his sculptures. He was born in Paris into a family of artists.  His father was a porcelain-painter, and his older brother Felix-Joseph Barrias a well-known painter.   Louis Ernest Barrias took up sculpture with Pierre-Jules Cavelier as teacher. In 1858 he was admitted to the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where his teacher was Francois Jouffroy. In 1865 Barrias won the Prix de Rome for study at the French Academy in Rome.  Barrias was also involved in the decoration of the Paris Opera and the Hotel de la Pava in the Champs-Elysees. His work was mostly in marble in a Romantic realist style indebted to Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.  In 1878 he was made a knight of the Legion of Honour, an officer in 1881, and a commander in 1900. Barrias replaced Dumont at the Institut de France in 1884 then succeeded Cavelier as professor at the ƒEcole des Beaux-Arts.  Towards the end of his career and partly evident from this particular nude, Barrias was very influenced by the Art Nouveau style, popular in fin-de-siecle France.

Approximate dimensions: 33″ ( 84 cm ) H x 29″ ( 74 cm ) W x 17″ ( 43 cm ) D

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