"ICON OF THE SACRED REALM" Box - Art by Alfred Daguet
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Alfred Daguet
"ICON OF THE SACRED REALM" Box

ca. 1910

About

Around the time that this distinctive Daguet boîte was created, the noted British art critic, Roger Fry, had observed what he termed, “Byzantinism” in the work of many French post-impressionist artists. This abstraction of the natural world into symbolic expression transcended purely earthbound pursuits. Daguet’s box serves as a portable icon to convey its owner to a spiritual realm. The central cartouche is almond-shaped forming a mandorla which signifies a sacred sphere. Contained within is a depiction of a Bishop of the Eastern Orthodoxy. Notable among his liturgical vestments are his mitre, or crown, and his staff. Considering their symbolic iconography in relation to the glass orbs and the flanking cow heads, it is clear how Daguet has created a powerful conduit toward more esoteric and heavenly pursuits. The Bishop is stylized in Byzantinesque linearity. His frontal stance and flat golden aureole are reminiscent of Christ the Pantokrator. His all-seeing, all-knowing authoritative aspect is balanced by the staff and the allusion to Christ, the shepherd. The cow heads, in turn, serve a dual purpose. They are examples of the benign beast of burden who helps to nourish humankind, and through their sacrificial roles, they also signify the transcendent quest for ultimate redemption. The symbolic meaning of colors in the Eastern Orthodoxy further reinforces Daguet’s pictorial elements. Gold is reserved for Christ while blue signifies the sky and heavens. Red evokes blood, living things and the natural world. And white alludes to light and the purity of the divine. By the mid-19th century, a large influx of Russians had begun vacationing and then settling in the south of France. By the time of the Communist Revolution in Russia, many more Russians had flocked to France. Displacement and transportation, portability and the possibility to transcend one’s circumstances, Daguet intuited these sentiments and created a precious object with which to tangibly mediate this universally human desire. Alfred Louis Achille DAGUET (1875 - 1942) was a metalsmith active in Paris during the first part of the 20th century. His metalwork created prior to the outbreak of World War I, noteworthy for its versatility and virtuosity, is the most sought-after among collectors today. Daguet mined many sources for inspiration be they Egyptian, Celtic, Japanese, Byzantine, Medieval or contemporary. He received formal training under the painters, Gerome and Clairin, both academicians associated with the Ecole des Beaux-Arts who had traveled to Egypt and explored themes of orientalism in their work. Daguet’s studio in Paris was located at 22 rue de Provence, just above Siegfried Bing’s influential L’Art Nouveau boutique. It is this association with Bing that is most significant to Daguet’s metier and what firmly places his work in art historical context. As a promoter and purveyor of Japanese objects, Bing capitalized on the craze for japonisme by expanding his commercial galleries from 1895-1904 to include artist workshops capable of making everything conceivable to create harmonious interior spaces. Daguet’s finely-worked repousse copper sheets clad many decorative letter and desk boxes sold at Bing’s shop in the early-1900s. These boxes which Daguet often further embellished with colored glass unquestionably reflect the tenets of the Art Nouveau aesthetic. In addition to boasting famous clientele such as Sarah Bernhardt who followed him to his studio on rue du Faubourg Saint-Jaques following Bing’s death in 1905 and the closure of his store, l’Art Nouveau, Daguet’s work achieved critical success with inclusion in group expositions at the Musee Galliera, Paris, 1905, 1926; Salons of the Societe des Artistes Francais: 1900, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1909, 1910; and the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, 1901.

Details

  • Artist
    Alfred Daguet (1875 - 1942, French)
  • Creation Year
    ca. 1910
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
    Good
  • Condition Details
    Condition: Very good with heavy patina normal for age. Unsigned.
  • Dimensions
    H 1.5 in. x W 10 in. x D 5 in.H 3.81 cm x W 25.4 cm x D 12.7 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Reference Number
    LU46733370573
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About the Seller

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Located in Chicago, IL
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