A very fine and rare full length bronze figure of a young beauty leaning against a well wall resting her arm upon a water urn in deep contemplation, the surface of the bronze with excellent tri-colour patina and good hand finished detail. Signed E.Villanis, stamped with foundry mark and titled Rebecca au Puits.
E Villanis Biography
Bathélémi Félix Vicor Emmanuel Villanis was born on the morning of 12 December 1858 in his parental home, 11 Rue des Os Rongés in Lille, France. His birth certificate was drawn up by Joseph Delattre, alderman in Lille. His parents came from Italy’s Piemonte region. His father, Félix Louis Joseph Antoine Villanis was born in Alessandria in 1820 and was a lithographer. His mother was Anna Lavioso and was born in Arona in 1831. The family consisted of three daughters and two sons.
From 1870 until 1871, France was at war with Germnay. It is not clear whether this might have been the reason for the Villanis family leaving France. The fact is, that they left Lille in 1870 to return to Italy. They probably settled in Turin after the proclamation of the kingdom of Italy by sovereign Victor Emmanuel II in 1870.
The historic archives of the Acadamia Albertina delle belle Arti in Turin show that E Villanis was admitted to the studies of Applied Art, Figure Study, Architecture and Perspective Theory on 29 January 1871. On 29 January 1874 he went on to study sculpture. Villanis studied at the academy until 1880.
His foremost teacher was Odoardo Tabacchi (1831~1905). Tabachi was an important Italian sculpture, who created many monumental sculptures, such as: a statue of Cavour (Milan), of Garibaldi (Turin), and of Arnaldo de Brescia (Berscia). Later in his life, he created smaller works of art, in particular sculptures of women. From 1881 until 1885, Villanis contributed to numerous exhibitions in Italy.
At the age of 27 Villanis returned to France and made Paris his permanent home. In 1886 he exhibited at the Salon for French artists in the Palais des Champs-Elysées for the first time. For an artist of the nineteenth century it was there that commissions were acquired and one’s name was made. Being an Italian, however, it was quite difficult in those days to acquire commissions from the French State.
On 19 July 1887, E Villanis married Jenne Fournier Pelletier (born 5 October 1863) at the Town Hall of the 17th arrondissement. Igno Cobianchi Vilanis’ brother in law, was one of the witnesses. Cobianchi was a painter of land and seascapes, and he exhibited in the Salon des Indépendants from 1880 ~ 1901. Jeanne Pelletier’s grandfather on her mother’s side was Hippolyte Castille, who was a writer and a political journalist. Because of his marriage to a French woman, his appeal for naturalisation – of vital importance for the acquisition of state commissions – was finally granted. Unfortunately, however, E Villanis did not have the means to pay for the stamp tax of 175,25 francs. Finally Villanis was naturalised on 30 January 1903. In the same year, on 17 October, he divorced his wife and entered into a second marriage with young Johanna Maria Magdalena Huinck (born 10 July 1885 in Utrecht, The Netherlands).
Villanis died at his home in Paris on 28 August 1914, at the age of 55.
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