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The Prey

Vase
1895-1905 (made), 1895 (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Auguste Ledru (1860-1902) was a pupil of Dumont, Bonnassieux, Thomas and Boisseaux and he made his debut at the Salon of 1883. Although he can be regarded as a sculptor, his career was principally involved with the decorative arts, designing vases, cups, dinner services and ornamental fountains in plaster, bronze and pewter.

The firm of Susse Frères, which was one of the largest and most successful French bronze foundries in the latter half of the 19th century, manufactured this Ledru-designed vase. It is of patinated bronze, with marine and erotic imagery, cast and applied in high relief. The fully modelled figure of a reclining female nude rests on a rock surrounded by a bed of seaweed. Her face is tilted upwards, her hair tied behind in a chignon, her two arms swept backwards, the right supported on a rock while the left is clutching the trailing tentacle of a large octopus, her left knee is raised and extends over the right thigh. Around the figure and across the surface of the vase are swirling waters, seething with three finned fish and a large octopus clinging to the neck in high relief. The head of the octopus protrudes above the upper rim, its tentacles wrap around the throat of the vessel.
read Art Nouveau and the erotic Art Nouveau – the decorative, sensual, and uncompromising design style that flourished at the turn of the 20th century – was born at a time of rapid change. While new media such as film and photography provided alternative ways of viewing the world, the moral landscape of Europe and Americ...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleLa Proie (assigned by artist)
Materials and Techniques
Patinated bronze
Brief Description
La Proie (The Prey), Vase with marine and erotic imagery, Bronze, Paris 1895-1905, designed by Auguste Ledru, made by Susse Freres
Physical Description
Vase of patinated bronze, with marine and erotic imagery, cast and applied in high relief; the body is surmounted by a tall throat and flares and recedes to a circular base with a half, moulded rim. The fully modelled figure of a reclining female nude rests on a rock surrounded by a bed of seaweed on the upper slope of the body of the vase, her face is tilted upwards, her hair tied behind in a chignon, her two arms swept backwards, the right supported on a rock while the left is clutching the trailing tentacle of a large octopus, her left knee is raised and extends over the right thigh. The figure is attached to the wall of the vase by two threaded steel bolts. Around the figure and across the surface of the vase are swirling waters, seething with three finned fish and a large octopus clinging to the neck in high relief. The head of the octopus protrudes above the upper rim, its tentacles wrap around the throat of the vessel.
Dimensions
  • Height: 44cm
  • Maximum width: 35.4cm
  • Diameter: 32.7cm
Style
Production typeLimited edition
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Ledru (1) Signature; Facsmile signature; On the lower, inward sloping section of the body.; Engraved)
  • COPYRIGHT / BY / SUSSE FRERES / 1895 (Maker's identification; English; On the base; Stamped)
Subject depicted
Summary
Auguste Ledru (1860-1902) was a pupil of Dumont, Bonnassieux, Thomas and Boisseaux and he made his debut at the Salon of 1883. Although he can be regarded as a sculptor, his career was principally involved with the decorative arts, designing vases, cups, dinner services and ornamental fountains in plaster, bronze and pewter.



The firm of Susse Frères, which was one of the largest and most successful French bronze foundries in the latter half of the 19th century, manufactured this Ledru-designed vase. It is of patinated bronze, with marine and erotic imagery, cast and applied in high relief. The fully modelled figure of a reclining female nude rests on a rock surrounded by a bed of seaweed. Her face is tilted upwards, her hair tied behind in a chignon, her two arms swept backwards, the right supported on a rock while the left is clutching the trailing tentacle of a large octopus, her left knee is raised and extends over the right thigh. Around the figure and across the surface of the vase are swirling waters, seething with three finned fish and a large octopus clinging to the neck in high relief. The head of the octopus protrudes above the upper rim, its tentacles wrap around the throat of the vessel.
Bibliographic References
  • Susse Frères, 1905 Sales Catalogue, Paris 1905, p.16 ill.
  • Cadet, Pierre. Susse Frères 150 Years of Sculpture, Paris, Susse Frères 1992, p.206 ill. ISBN 0948308133
  • Greenhalgh, Paul (Ed.), Art Nouveau: 1890-1914 . London: V&A Publications, 2000Kader, Alexander, The Concentrated Essence of a Wiggle: Art Nouveau Sculpture, p.253
Collection
Accession Number
M.24-1998

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record createdApril 11, 2003
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