F.Barbedienne Bronzes are metal sculptures produced at the F. Barbedienne foundry in France.
History & Description
The F. Barbedienne foundry was established in 1838 in Paris by Ferdinand Barbedienne and Achille Collas. Barbedienne had been a successful wallpaper manufacturer while Collas had invented a machine that could create miniature replicas of statues in bronze.
Originally, the foundry went into business selling bronze reductions of antique sculptures from museums all over Europe. However, from 1843, the foundry extended its scope by reproducing the work of living artists and sculptors, such as Francois Rude, David D’Angers and Jean-Baptiste Clesinger.
However, perhaps the most well-known artists reproduced by the foundry were Auguste Rodin and Antoine Louis Barye.
Following the deaths of both Barbedienne and Collas in the late-nineteenth century, the foundry was taken over the LeBlanc family and continued under their stewardship until 1952.
Guide for collectors
Instances of F. Barbedienne bronze sold at both national and international auction houses are very common. However, collectors should be aware that items sold through international auctioneers, such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, typically realise the highest prices.
In addition, although the foundry reproduced a wide range of bronze sculptures, the most valuable examples are reductions of Rodin and Barye works of art, most notably Rodin’s The Kiss. In the past, Christie’s has sold a large number of F. Barbedienne bronze reductions of Rodin’s The Kiss and pieces can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Notable auction sales
On June 21st 2011 at Christie’s in London, a bronze and brown patina reduction of Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss, cast by the F. Barbedienne foundry, circa 1904-1918, realised a price of £623,650.
On April 25th 2003 at Christie’s in New York, a bronze and dark brown patina reduction of Antoine-Louis Barye’s second version of Theseus Slaying the Minotaur, cast by the F. Barbedienne foundry, circa 1876, realised a price of $276,300.
On April 13th 2011 at Christie’s in New York, a bronze and brown patina version of Mark Antokolskii’s Peter I, cast by the F. Barbedienne foundry, circa late-nineteenth century, realised a price of $254,500.
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