Lyon 1855 - Paris 1894
Portrait of Frans Hals with Pointed Beard
1885 - 1892
Height: 60 cm. (23 ¾ in.)
Signed: Carriès/Paris/85 and further inscribed
PROVENANCE: Collection of Victor Granottier, Lyon;
Private Collection, New York.
Jean Carriès imagier et potier. Etude d’une oeuvre et d’une vie, Musées de la Nièvre, Etude et documents. n. 4, 2001 [republication of the 1895 biography by A. Alexandre], p. 113.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Carriès undoubtedly ranks among the most outstanding sculptors of the late 19th century. As Rodin poetically and succinctly stated, "The talent of Carriès is fine like amber." Carriès left a varied and remarkable body of work that includes masks, portraits of his contemporaries or historical figures. His choice of subjects tended to be idiosyncratic and he also created intriguing heads of babies as well as grotesque figures and fantastic animals. In the course of his career, the artist showed originality not only in his selection of themes but also in his choice of materials: plaster, wax, lost-wax cast bronze and ceramic. For each of these, he would experiment with patinas he had himself created. His life-long obsession with subtle varieties and modulations of surface colouration and patina are recorded by his friend and biographer Arsène Alexandre in his seminal 1895 work on Carriès: "... the plasters were submitted to a variety of different treatments together with a basic process that remained constant. First, they were uniformly impregnated with oils and dried up to a determined point. Then some received applications of oxides, others were heightened with touches of oil paint or even watercolour, and still others-both more complex and more triumphant-were treated with oxides and paint simultaneously, resulting in indefinable amalgams... More than one example of figures, even in plaster, have thus been enriched by the hands of the artist so that despite their plurality they can be considered as rare objects and as prizes, since no one is identical to the other and each one guards the creative contact and flower - consequently, they have attained prices in sales and among collectors that one has never before witnessed for works in plaster." A large collection of works by the artist was bequeathed by his friend and fellow ceramicist George Hoentschel (1855-1915) in 1904 and is now in the Petit Palais, Paris.