Jean-Léon Gérôme, gilt bronze nude, ‘La Joueuse de Boules’ c.1905

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Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904)

La Joueuse de Boules

Gilt bronze figure of a female nude, with three classical masks at her feet, some containing balls in their mouths, she with several other balls she is attempting to drop into the remaining as she twists her torso;

set on black wooden base.

Inscribed along the plinth ‘105C’, ‘SIOT PARIS’ +  ‘JL Gerome’

circa 1905

Statue 28cm high
On stand 35cm high

Jean-Léon Gérôme was one of the most important, and most prolific French artists of the ‘Belle Epoch’ period in 19th century France. He painted in oils and sculpted in bronze & marble. His output included works in the ‘Orientalist’ and ‘Classical’ style, and his public commissions are well known in France.
In his latter years he is remembered for his absolute rejection of the de-generate ‘Impressionist’ artists that were suddenly replacing the public’s interest in his realism.

Jean-Léon Gérôme first exhibited ‘La Joueuse de Boules’ at the 1902 Salon, sculpted in marble with soft tinting, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen. It depicts the standing nude woman plaining an ‘invented Néo-Grec game’ in which she attempts to drop balls into the mouths of the classical theatre masks at her feet. The work was originally life-size, carved in marble, and tinted with pigments, but was also recreated in polychrome ivory and in gilt bronze, as seen in this example. The bronze came in three sizes, cast by the Siot-Decauville Foundry, with this being the smallest at 11 inches tall, and the largest measuring 34 1/2 inches tall.

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