Refined bronze sculpture “Faunesse with child and Bacchus” signed Clodion

Antique French bronze sculpture “Faunesse with child and Bacchus” signed Clodion

Large French bronze sculpture representing a faunesse (female faun) holding her baby on her knees, and Bacchus playing at their feet, a well known model by Clodion. The faun and her child are girded with vine leaves and the child holds out a cup to Bacchus. In exchange, Bacchus lying on a bed of vine branches gives him a bunch of grapes. The thyrsus, symbol of Bacchus, lies on the bed of foliage. All the attributes of Bacchus are present in this magnificent composition by Clodion, whose quality of carving is matched only by the depth of its patina. A cherry red marble base supports this remarkable mythological group.

The provenance of this work is an interesting one, since it comes from the collection of Charles Auzoux (1836-1922), whose enormous collection was carefully preserved by his descendants until now. Charles Auzoux , renowned lawyer, defended the integrity of artists in the 19th century. As such his impact on the history of art was very important. His collection is a poignant testimony to his life, that of a great friend of the arts and artists.

A great passion, an unlimited generosity and an absolute dedication defined Charles Auzoux, the man of law who fought for a whole generation of artists, to the point of becoming one of them. His collection, that of a lifetime, consisted of works acquired from artists to support their work, but also works offered as a sign of affection by those who felt indebted to his kindness and friendship.

The sculpture bears the signature “CLODION” on the back, referring to Claude Michel, known as Clodion (1738-1814). Also the sculpture has the number “31523” on the back. This intriguing bronze sculpture has a beautiful dark brown patina in a very good state of conservation.

Details of this sculpture “Faunesse with child and Bacchus”

France, circa 1850-1860.
Dimensions: 56 cm high, 31 cm wide, 32 cm deep. Diameter of the base: 30 cm.
Weight: 30.5 kg.
Provenance: Charles Auzoux collection; then by descent.

Claude Michel, known as Clodion (1738-1814)

Clodion, whose mother was from the Adam dynasty of sculptors, spent the beginning of his life and his training in Nancy then in Lille. In 1755, he entered the studio of his maternal uncle, the sculptor Lambert Sigisbert Adam, in Paris. He stayed there for four years, then became a pupil of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle on the death of his uncle. Later, in 1759 he received the grand prize for sculpture and then left for Rome in 1762 where he resided until 1771, carrying out orders from Duke Louis Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld or Catherine II who sought to attract him to Russia.

In 1771, Clodion returned to Paris and was wildly successful and he exhibited regularly at the Salon. In 1773, he was approved by the Academy and received his first commission from the King in 1779 for a statue of Montesquieu intended for the Grande Galerie du Louvre. He also worked on public monuments in Paris, such as the marble relief of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.


  • Exhibition catalog: ‘Les trésors retrouvés des ateliers d’artistes au temps de Rodin. Collection Charles Auzoux 1870-1910’, Paris, Louvre des Antiquaires, 5 May – 10 September 1995.
  • Exhibition catalog: Anne L. Poulet, Guilhem Scherf, ‘Clodion 1738-1814’, cat. exp., Paris, Louvre Museum, 17 March – 29 June 1992.

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