Lot: 343

Agathon Leonard (aka Leonard van Weydeveldt)
'Danseuse à la Marguerite' from the 'le Jeu de l'Echarpe' centerpiece, 1898

Female figure in a flowing robe dancing, mantilla and marguerite flower in her hair. H. 51 cm. Bronze, gilded. Signed: A. Leonard sclp, foundry mark by Susse Frères, Paris, M for the chaser Mangenot.

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Hammer Price: 18,000 €

168B - Art Nouveau - Art Deco Part II
24. May 2023 at 3:00 PM CEST


The 'Jeu de l'Echarpe'

Agathon Léonard first conceived his 'Jeu de l'Echarpe' as a series of wall reliefs to adorn the foyer of a theatre. The then director of the Sèvres porcelain manufactory, Alexandre Sandier, saw the models for the wall decoration, initially planned with ten dancers, at the exhibition of the Société nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1897 and was so enthusiastic that he immediately commissioned the artist to realise his design as a multi-piece centerpiece. In 1899, the centerpiece consisting of dancers, musicians and torchbearers was presented with twelve figures and extended by three more by 1901. The female figures, designed with great attention to detail, still make the viewer feel the dawn of a new attitude to life, which is expressed in the flowing, non-constricting dresses of the young ladies, their free movements and the restrained ornamentation. Several famous dancers were considered as models for the figures, including Cléo de Mérode (1875-1966) and Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) as well as the much portrayed Loïe Fuller (1862-1928). The Susse Frères foundry secured the rights to produce the bronze centerpiece as early as 1901. In 1901, the group was presented at the Salon of the Société. It was executed in three different sizes, some of them also in chryselephantine or silver-plated. Susse is said to have executed 100-130 examples of the figures by 1935.

Böstge/Héran, Agathon Léonard Le geste Art Nouveau, Paris 2003, pp. 49-75, esp. p. 60 f., p. 69; Cadet, Susse Frères, Paris 1992, p. 195 (Sales cat. from 1905).