AGATHON LEONARD (1841 – 1923): AN ART NOUVEAU FIGURAL BRONZE
R55 000 – R85 000
depicting an oriental dancer, standing barefoot on demi point, leaning backwards with arms outstretched to the sides, face turned to the left looking out, head adorned with a cloche, wearing a dress with full skirt and embellished torso, and bracelets on her arms, on a stepped square atop a tapering stepped black and white marble plinth, signed A LEONARD, repairs to both arms and pinky finger, chip to marble base
49,5cm high including base
Leonard Agathon van Weydevelt otherwise known as Agathon Leonard was born in 1841 in Lille, France.
As a young man he moved to Paris to study sculpture at the Ecole Des Beaux – Arts de Paris under Eugene Delaplanche. He became a member of the Societe de Artistes Francais in 1887, and a member of the Societe des Beaux-Arts in 1897. He regularly exhibited across France and was made a chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1900.
Possibly his greatest success was Jeu l’écharpe – The Scarf Dance – in 1898, consisting of fifteen unglazed figures manufactured by Sevres. These depicted female figures dancing and playing music based on the popular scarf dances of the time made famous by the American female dancer
Loie Fuller. Fuller was a pioneer of modern dance who came to embody the Art Nouveau movement. She incorporated natural movement and improvisation along with billowing silk costumes into her dances.
The set captured the zeitgeist of the times, exemplifying the artistic interest in the ideals of female beauty during the period that Leonard contracted the Parisian Foundry Susse Freres to produce bronze editions. These are the most collectable of Leonard’s works, with a complete set housed at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.