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Bust of a Lady (possibly Fanny Coleman)

Bust of a Lady (possibly Fanny Coleman)

1872

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

(French, 1827-1875)

Marble

Overall: 83.2 x 58.5 x 39.4 cm (32 3/4 x 23 1/16 x 15 1/2 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1975.5

Description

Abandoning the strict frontality and symmetry of the neoclassical style, Carpeaux was instead inspired by French portrait busts of the 1600s and 1700s. This bust probably depicts Fanny Coleman, an English actress with whom Carpeaux may have had a romantic relationship. The turn of the head and the undulating drapery infuse the figure with a sense of drama. Patronized by Napoleon III, Carpeaux created the celebrated figural group La Danse for the facade of the Opera Garnier in Paris, a work renowned for its sensual nudes, but denounced by contemporaries as an affront to public decency.

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