Bronze Sculptural Vessel of a Kneeling Woman by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle
1929 (a later cast)
9 3/4″ high x 3 3/4″ wide x 4 1/2″ deep
Emile-Antoine Bourdelle was born in 1861, the son of a weaver and a cabinetmaker. From a young age, he proved himself to be gifted in drawing and modeling, earning a scholarship to the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse when he was 15, and later continuing his studies in Paris. He soon won acclaim for his work, but struggled to earn a living, so hired himself out to Rodin. The two sculptors developed a great mutual esteem, and with Jules Desbois they founded a free school for students of sculpture.
Anxious to develop his own distinct style, Bourdelle left Rodin’s studio in 1908 and became a teacher at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where one of his students was the young Alberto Giacometti. Today, Bourdelle’s atelier is one of the most splendid small museums in Paris (photographs herein from a visit in 2018).
This small cast bronze sculpture was probably intended as a vase. The nude female figure kneels, grabbing her ankles behind her, tilting her head up as if to the sun. She has a pleased and pleasing mien.