Ferdinand Barbedienne bronze relief sculpture c1870. AT 35.5 inches high, by 10 inches wide and .5 inches thick this is one of the largest relief sculptures sculpted by Barbedienne. Excellent casting detail, original condition. (B January 10 1810 D March 21 1892) (from artfact.com) (b Saint-Martin-de-Fresnay, Calvados, 10 Jan 1810; d Paris, 21 March 1892). French metalworker and manufacturer. The son of a farmer, he was apprenticed in 1822 to a Parisian papermaker. By 1834 Barbedienne was a successful wallpaper manufacturer; his original intention had been to reproduce ‘masterpieces from Antiquity and the Renaissance’. In 1838 he changed his profession, becoming a founder, and went into partnership with Achille Collas (1795–1859), who had invented a method for making reductions of sculpture. The firm, called Collas & Barbedienne, specialized in reproductions of antique and modern sculpture and eventually employed about 300 artists and workers, who produced as many as 1,200 subjects, including the work of Michelangelo, Luca della Robbia and Antoine-Louis Barye, as well as making busts of historical notables (e.g. Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin). By 1850 the firm was also producing a wide range of decorative objects—chandeliers, vases and furniture—in a variety of revival styles (e.g. Néo-Grec, Gothic and Louis XVI). Between 1850 and 1854 the firm provided furnishings in the Renaissance Revival style for the Hôtel de Ville, Paris. From 1851 the firm, by then known as Barbedienne, received numerous medals at the international exhibitions, including medals in three different classes at the International Exhibition of 1862 in London. Barbedienne’s work in enamel, which was at the forefront of the revival of enamelwork in France in the 19th century, was shown for the first time at this exhibition (e.g. gilt metal vase with champlevé enamel, c. 1862; London, V&A). In 1886 he was awarded the Jean Goujon Gold Medal by the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale. The business was carried on by Barbedienne’s nephew after his death.
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