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Description:

A Very Fine and Palatial French 19th/20th Century Allegorical Figural Cast-Iron Group Torchere - Sculpture - Fountain - Representing Spring and the Harvest, Probably Cast by Le Fonderies d'Art du Val d'Osne. The charming four-putti sculpture with a front standing putto holding a pole amongst wheat stalks, another putto kneeling and collecting wheat, a third one wearing a hat and picking flowers for a wreath and the fourth kneeling putto holding a bird's nest, all below an elongated classical stem with a glass globe (Electrified). Circa: Paris, 1900.

Overall Height: 84 inches (213.4 cm)
Width: 29 1/2 inches (74.9 cm)
Circular Base Diameter: 24 inches (61 inches)

Ref.: A1987

 


Cast-iron had been in production during the 18th century but its inferior status to the more fashionable and delicate wrought-iron had generally confined its use to architectural work. By the early 19th century, however, rapid developments of the Industrial Revolution combined with the simultaneous burgeoning of a new middle class provided the impetus for a dramatic expansion in its application and in a short space of time a proliferation of iron foundries across Europe and America thrived on the production of everything from inkstands to railway stations. The use of cast-iron for garden ornament became particularly widespread at this time, as the possibilities for its mass-production at a fraction of the cost of bronze made it the material of choice for outdoor statuary, figural lighting, fountains and vases. Nowhere was the popularity and use of cast-iron ornament greater than in France, where by the second half of the 19th century two foundries in particular, which feature prominently in the following collection, had come to dominate production both for the home market and for export. The more important of these was the officially named Société Anonyme des Hauts-Fourneaux et Fonderies du Val-D'Osne, Anciennes maisons J. P. V. André et J. J. Ducel et Fils. Commonly known after 1870 as simply Val D'Osne, the company was originally founded in 1835 and developed rapidly, absorbing smaller foundries in the Haute-Marne area east of Paris. Smaller than Val D'Osne but nevertheless a major player in the manufacture of cast-iron was the firm of A. A. Durenne, established in 1847 at Sommevoire. Both Val D'Osne and Durenne were frequently awarded medals for their work at the many international exhibitions of the latter half of the 19th century. Each also published large catalogues illustrating and listing its entire inventory of models, from which casts of varying size and finish could be ordered.

Fonderies d'Art du Val d'Osne

Established in 1835 by J.P.V. André, the Fonderies d'Art du Val d'Osne was known for their high quality and extensive collection of cast-iron architectural designed sculptures created exclusively for Victor André by some of the most reputed and established Parisian sculptors like Carrier-Belleuse, Mathurin Moreau, Delaplanche and Pradier. The prolific firm Fonderies d'Art du Val d'Osne participated in numerous international exhibitions and was acclaimed at the 1857 London Exhibition with a monumental bronze fountain cast with swans and Classical figures. The firm was acquired by Barbezat & Cie. in 1867, and allying with the fondeur J.J. Ducel towards 1870, and was renamed Société Anonyme des Hauts-Fourneaux & Fonderies du Val-D'Osne, Anciennes maison J.P.V. André et J.J. Ducel et Fils. The most celebrated work or art cast by the firm would be irrefutably the Parisian subway entrances designed by Hector Guimard. The firm was also known for their comissions by governments to manufacture sculptures and fountains for display at public parks and buildings in major cities around the world.

Literature:

Société Anonyme des Hauts-Fourneaux & Fonderies du Val-D'Osne catalogue.




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