ALEXANDRE CHARPENTIER (Paris 1856 - 1909 Neuilly)
Portrait of a Distinguished Gentleman
Cast bronze 7 7/8 x 5 3/4 inches (20 . 14.7 cm)
Monogrammed, middle left of field: CLAM
Dated: 16 novembre / 1901
Alexandre Charpentier was one of the most important figures in the fin de siècle avant-garde movement in sculpture and decorative arts in France. Recent exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C., and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris bear witness to this fact. He is especially well known for his cast bronze relief portraits of the highly creative men and women in his social milieu. His technique was to model damp terracotta in front of his subjects to create an expressive high relief portrait. These rapid models could then be used to make irregularly shaped bronze images. These portraits included important figures from the worlds of theater, music, art, journalism and literature.
Our portrait relief of this unknown distinguished gentleman is dated 16 Novembre 1901, and is not recorded in any of the literature on Charpentier. Its extremely nervous modeling and clear evidence of tool marks in the cast suggest this may well be a unique portrait.