Pierre Granet(1842 - 1910)
Private Collection France, until 2019
These two elegant ladies of Belle Époque Paris are carved to appear as if they have been observed just stepping out from a theatre, or opera house as they walk along one of Paris’ new modern boulevards, possibly discussing the latest farcical play by Georges Feydau or novel by Zola.
Dressed in the French fashion of the 1890s both women wear high necked dresses, carved with soft lace like patterns to the front and with large puffy gigot sleeves which fit the lower arm and end in voluminous cuffs. Their dresses are tied tightly at the waist before falling flowing, in a short but elegant train behind them. To the front, amusingly observed by Granet, each has a single pointed shoe emerging from beneath their dress and extending over the edge of the base, suggestive of movement. One lady holds a fan to her chest with both hands, her hair swept and held at the back in a tight chignon. The other lady, who’s hair is gathered on top in a bob also wears a neck ruff, one hand on her hip the right holding something to her chest – possibly a hand warmer. The soft, chalky marble has been delicately carved by Granet – giving these figures a charming and sensuous feel deserved of a Lady. Finer details, such as the ears, eyes, nose and lips, and the slender fingers have been realised with great sensitivity and a playfully idiosyncratic style.
Pierre Granet was born in Villeneuve-d’Ornon, in the Gironde region and trained as a pupil of Augustin Dumont (1801-1884) and Jean Joseph Perraud (1819-1876) respectively. He first exhibited at the Salon of 1869 and became a prolific sculptor in his day, producing numerous portraits, commemorative monuments, and allegorical and genre works which he exhibited. He also produced sculpture for inclusion in architectural decoration such as his allegorical figures of Sculpture and Painting for the façade of the Museum of Fine Arts Bordeaux, 1896. He obtained a second class medal in 1874 and won, with Jeunesse et Chimère, a group in white marble, a gold medal in the Universal Exhibition of 1889. He was decorated with the Legion of Honour in 1900 and in the same year obtained another gold medal at the Universal Exhibition. His Fame in Combat, 1897-1900, is installed on one of the four columns of the Pont Alexandre III in Paris.