Captivating late 19th Century French bronze bust of a beautiful woman, enhanced by the variegated rich brown patination and excellent tactile surface detail, raised on an integral bronze base with raised title to the fore. Signed E Villanis and further raised on a breche griotte stepped and shaped marble plinth
Height: 33 cm
Width: 16 cm
Depth: 11 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Book Ref: Emmanuel Villanis by Josje Hortulanus-de Mik
Page No: 17
Puccini's Opera - La Bohème
SYNOPSIS - A group of friends are living a bohemian life in Paris and trying to make their livings creating art. Rodolfo, the writer, falls in love with the seamstress, Mimi, while Marcello, the painter, and Musetta, the singer, are the on-and-off-again couple by their sides. When the four are happy, they spend their time celebrating life and love. However, Mimi is revealed to be very ill, and Rodolfo struggles to come to terms with the fact that she will inevitably die. Rodolfo and Mimi break up, and months later, Musetta discovers Mimi extremely sick and close to death. She brings Mimi to Rodolfo and Marcello's apartment. Rodolfo immediately takes her in and tries to nurse her back to health, but he is too late. Almost as soon as the two are reunited and have professed their love for one another, Mimi succumbs to her illness and dies.
Emmanuel Villanis was an industrious man. He is believed to have created some 200 to 250 pieces. His oeuvre pre-eminently consisted of busts and full body statues. Most of these were manufactured in bronze, but there are also models in white metal and terra cotta. Different patinas were used. The bronzes were mainly cast by the Societé de Bronzes de Paris and can be recognised by the round stamp (cachet) at the back of the statue. In addition, reliefs, vases, lamps, clocks and ink stands are recorded . Vases and lamps were mostly made of tin, and there are also marble statues. Pieces in which ivory is used are as rare as silver statues.
Villanis was inspired by women. He dedicated almost his complete works to them. One model in particular was portrayed many times by him. His portrayals of children may be less known, but are nevertheless wonderfully done. His statues are always in perfect proportion and are full of expression: dreamy-eyed, happy, sirene, indifferent, cheeky, serious, sad, detached, melancholy.
His style can always be recognised by his use of hollowed out eyeballs. The name of the statue can usually be found on the base in scrolled script and the signature of Emmanuel Villanis is always visible and legible.
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