Pair of Decorative Bronzes

Object Details

Title:

Pair of Decorative Bronzes

Artist/Maker:

Painting attributed to Étienne-Simon Martin (French, 1703 - 1770)
and Guillaume Martin (French, 1689 - 1749)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

1738 to 1750

Medium:

Painted bronze; silver

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In September 1752, the marchand-mercier (dealer) Lazare Duvaux recorded in his daybook that he was "to clean and restore two lacquered figures carrying sugar canes, and polish the silver sugar canes and flowers" for Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress, an important patron of the arts. This note led scholars to guess that these decorative figures may have belonged to this famous paramour. These figures are two of only a few objects documented as having been in her possession that still exist today. No other decorative pieces made in the 1700s combining bronze and silver are known.

Madame de Pompadour collected avidly. To a friend who commented on her spending she once wrote, "I fully approve of this so-called madness, which feeds so many paupers; I get much more pleasure out of distributing gold than from hoarding it."

Related Works
Exhibitions
Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour - A Love Affair with Style (March 10 to June 15, 1990)
  • The Dixon Gallery and Gardens (Memphis), March 10 to April 15, 1990
  • Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc. (New York), May 2 to June 15, 1990
Madame de Pompadour et les arts (February 13, 2002 to January 12, 2003)
  • Musée national des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon (Versailles), February 13 to May 19, 2002
  • Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung (Munich), June 14 to September 15, 2002
  • The National Gallery (London), October 16, 2002 to January 12, 2003
Taking Shape: Finding Sculpture in the Decorative Arts (October 2, 2008 to July 5, 2009)
  • Henry Moore Institute (Leeds), October 2, 2008 to January 4, 2009
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 31 to July 5, 2009
The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals (October 13, 2015 to April 16, 2017)
  • The Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), October 13, 2015 to March 13, 2016