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Antique French Bronze Sculpture of a Blacksmith by Adrien-Etienne Gaudez



This is a Fine sculpture in bronze by Adrien Etienne Gaudez of a blacksmith laboring over his work, titled "Forgeron" on a frontmost plaque. Known also as "Labor" (documented as such in Berman, f. 3274, that example from the F.P. Sanson foundry), it was cast in three editions of approximately 17", 24" and 31". The solitary figure is of exceptional quality, crisply cast and chased, even the tiniest details filed by hand for a flawless finished surface. The sculpture is finished in a green-brown chemical patination of translucent quality that shows hints of the more golden bronze hues in edges of relief. The figure's muscled arms show a practiced and experienced smith, these being taught as he swings the enormous forging Hammer, his leather smock swinging with the momentum, each ripple and crease of the garb captured with stunning accuracy. Each tool and the scrolled plans scattered across the naturalistic base are nearly perfect representations of reality. The sculptures of Adrien Gaudez have been described as "photographic representationism" (Berman) due to the meticulous construction of these details, treating even the fingernails and eyebrows with precision and accuracy. The plaque reads "FORGERON / Par A Gaudez / HORS-CONCOURS", which indicated that Gaudez was able to present his models at Salon while bypassing the required jurying for the exhibition. Born in Lyon in February of 1845, Adrien-Etienne Gaudez enrolled in the Beaux-Arts in 1862, debuting at Salon only two years later. He won a third class medal at the Salon of 1884 and the first class medal in 1881. His works are held in major museums around the world including Valence, Louviers and Clermont-Ferrand. Literature: "Art Bronzes", Michael Forrest, p. 40-42/475 "Bronzes: Sculptors and Founders vol III, IV", Berman, p. 723 (biographical notes), p. 858 f. 3274 ("Labor" - Hors Concours - circa 1890; 17", 24", 31") "Bronzes of the 19th Century", Kjielberg, p. 346-8 (biographical notes, Le Forgeron noted as 60 cm) Measurements: 30 5/8" H x 12 1/4" W x 15 1/2" D.


  • Creator
  • Dimensions
    Height: 30.63 in. (77.81 cm)Width: 12.25 in. (31.12 cm)Depth: 15.5 in. (39.37 cm)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 19th Century
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Fine original patina. Arm with a seam and slight looseness, though not needing any attention - we recommend leaving it exactly as it is. Very minor handling wear.
  • Seller Location
    Shippensburg, PA
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 905CXQ16Z | Silla, ltd.1stDibs: LU1059020347572

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Shippensburg, PA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 1 day of delivery.

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About the Seller
4.8 / 5
Located in Shippensburg, PA
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Established in 2009
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