Sunday, August 8, 2010

Objects of the Day: A Pair of Sculptures by Emile Bruchon

Emile Bruchon was considered one of the greatest French Belle Époque sculptors. He worked from 1880-1910, creating works known for their fluidity and seeming weightlessness. This pair of sculptures demonstrate Bruchon’s signature balance and naturalism. Both signed by the artist, the male figure is entitled, L’Agriculture and the female is called, La Navigation.

He rests, precariously mounted on a stack of grain, his leg supported by a scythe and hold a stalk of wheat aloft. She is supported by the clouds, snatching a star from the sky. Cast in spelter, these two figures both seem to breathe in their clinging wraps and show expressions that are at once determined and benign. On their matching rosewood bases, they were obviously meant to be displayed together, and, so they remain, one hundred thirty years later—forever friends unified in their personification of two of the concepts that defined their country of origin.

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