"Ferdinand Barbedienne - Bronze - The Virgin, Jesus, Saint John The Baptist, Anne And Joachim"Bronze bas-relief with brown patina signed "F. Barbedienne" representing the Virgin, the Child Jesus, Saint John the Baptist as a child, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim.
Barbedienne cast iron, late 19th century.
Height: 27.7 cm
Width: 16 cm.
The Maison Barbedienne is a famous foundry from the 19th century, which quickly achieved great renown for its editions of statues and works of art. Bronze workshop, the company however works with other craft bodies, and associates its name with works of great diversity, especially in furniture. Present at all the Universal Exhibitions of its time, the Barbedienne House was regularly distinguished by awards, notably during the Universal Exhibition of 1855 where it received the Great Medal of Honor.
Parisian bronzier and publisher, Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) founded in 1839 a company in collaboration with Achille Collas, inventor of the process for the mathematical reduction of sculpture. Thanks to this revolutionary process, they gained unprecedented production. Under the name "Collas et Barbedienne", they specialized in reproductions from the antique and developed new chemical processes to color and patina the bronzes.
As a good representative of the romantic generation, Ferdinand Barbedienne's mission was to democratize art, by making numerous copies of antiques and by stimulating the dissemination of the works of his contemporaries. Many famous sculptures were edited by the Barbedienne foundry. Throughout his life, Barbedienne collaborated with the greatest artists, sculptors and ornamentalists of his time such as Édouard Lièvre, Ferdinand Levillain, Attarge, Aizelin, Barye or Fremiet. Besides the statues, he produces a large collection of decorative objects, such as pendulums, vases, mirrors, etc. From 1855, Ferdinand Barbedienne collaborated with the famous ornamentalist Louis-Constant Sévin (1821-1888). Entering society as an ornamental sculptor, he remained at his service until the end of his life, always renewing the forms of everyday objects which then became real pieces of art. Sévin's creations, specializing in the “neo-Greek” style, proved to be fields of election for the permanence of the reference to the antique in the decorative arts, such as the large mirror which is kept at the Musée d'Orsay. He also surrounded himself with enamellers, including Alfred Serre, and developed a range of partitioned enamels that caused a sensation at the 1862 Universal Exhibition in London, signaling a great return to the art of enamel. In collaboration with Serre, Barbedienne produced between 1878 and 1889 the monumental Renaissance-style clock decorated with enamels which is kept at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris.
In 1859, the death of Achille Collas made Barbedienne the sole owner of the foundry. The excellence of its production earned him the title of head of the Committee for the Bronze Industries in 1865. When he died in 1892, his inheritor Gustave Leblanc-Barbedienne (1849-1945) took over the foundry, which then became the house “ Leblanc-Barbedienne ”, specializing in monumental sculptures, and active until the middle of the 20th century. Leblanc-Barbedienne had the honor of working with Auguste Rodin. The production of furniture bronzes was taken over by Paul-Alexandre Dumas, Art Nouveau artist and student of Majorelle, who signed several catalogs of furniture and wallpaper "Dumas-Barbedienne" between 1900 and 1906.
Bibliography: Florence Rionnet, Les Bronzes Barbedienne. L'œuvre d'une dynastie de fondeurs (1834-1954), Paris, Arthena, 2016.