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Sèvres Bust of Empress Marie Louise
- This stunning Sèvres porcelain bust captures the visage of Empress Marie Louise
- The second wife of Napoleon, the portrait is based on a painting from the 1810 Salon
- The Empress exudes imperial power and timeless elegance in a neoclassical tiara and drapery
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Bisque porcelain wares such as this were extremely popular during the mid-1700s, especially in France, where manufactories like Sèvres created busts and medallion portraits of their greatest figures. Formed of that coveted refined white unglazed porcelain, the Empress exudes imperial power and timeless elegance in a neoclassical tiara and classical drapery.
According to the Archives de Sèvres, only two people could have possibly ordered the present bust: Count Sanson, an important diplomat about to enter service of the Russian Tsar, or the stepdaughter of Napoleon, Queen Hortense of Holland. Documentation indicates that a pair of busts were sold to the Count, one of the Emperor and one of the Empress, and that Queen Hortense acquired her example on November 4th, 1811. Sèvres entrusted the task of executing the portrait bust to Alexandre Brachard, a master sculptor and the porcelain manufacturer’s best modeler. The reaction to Brachard’s finished product was so positive that he was paid a “bonus for success.”
Superb in detail and artistry, this elegant portrait bust of Marie Louise reflects both the refinement of its subject and the fineness of its medium. The only other biscuit bust of this magnitude is housed in the permanent collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. One of only two large-scale period busts by Sèvres of the Empress still in private hands, with no documentation of the other example’s whereabouts, this museum-quality sculpture is a rare treasure.
Marked "ML" on wooden base
On base: 31 1/2“ high x 38 1/3” wide x 3 1/4“ deep