Elegant Antique French Bronze Sculpture “Ondine” signed Mathurin Moreau

Antique French Bronze Sculpture “Ondine” signed Mathurin Moreau

This elegant French bronze sculpture “Ondine” by Mathurin Moreau (1822- 1912) depicts a young woman. She symbolizes Ondine, goddess of the waters. Beside her on the ground we see a jug from which the water flows continuously. This bronze sculpture is also know as “Libellule” or dragonfly.

The design of this antique French bronze sculpture “Ondine” by Mathurin Moreau is very elegant and refined. The bronze has a warm brown patina which is in very good condition, giving this antique sculpture an attractive look. It carries the signature “Mathurin Moreau” and rests on a turning base. On a plaque in front we see the words “Ondine / Par M. Moreau / Hors concours / Membre du jury

Dimensions: 53 cm high, 21 cm wide, 27 cm deep. Diameter of the base 21 cm.
Weight: 14.1 kg.

Mythology of Ondines

Ondines are beings associated with water, stemming from the alchemical writings of Paracelsus. Later writers developed the ondine into a water nymph in its own right. Ondines continue to live in modern literature and art through such adaptations as Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” and the Undine of Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. Also Ondine is a goddess of the waters in Norse mythology.

Mathurin Moreau (1822- 1912)

Mathurin Moreau, born in Dijon on 18 November 1822 and died in Paris on 14 February 1912, was a French sculptor. He is renowned for his decorative sculptures and he was an expert at portraying feminine grace.

Mathurin Moreau was born from the marriage of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste-Louis-Joseph Moreau and Anne Marianne Richer. His brothers Hippolyte and Auguste were also sculptors. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1841 in the workshops of Jules Ramey and Auguste Dumont. Moreau won the second prix de Rome in 1842. And he made his debut at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1848 and stood out there with the statue L’Élégie. He obtained a second class medal at the Universal Exhibition of 1855 in Paris, then a first class medal in 1878. In 1897, he received a medal of honor at the Salon of which he became a member of the jury during the Universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris.

From 1879 and until his death, Mathurin Moreau was mayor of the 19th arrondissement of Paris. He was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1865 and promoted to Officer of the same Order in 1885.


  • Pierre Kjellberg “Bronzes of the 19th century” p. 511-518.

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