Pair of Decorative Bronzes

Object Details

Title:

Pair of Decorative Bronzes

Artist/Maker(s):

Surface decoration attributed to Étienne-Simon Martin (French, 1703 - 1770)

and Guillaume Martin (French, 1689 - 1749)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

silver 1738 - 1750; bronze 1745 - 1749

Medium:

Painted bronze and 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
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
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 172.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 203.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 203.

Droth, Martina, and Penelope Curtis, eds. Taking Shape: Finding Sculpture in the Decorative Arts, exh. cat. (Leeds, Henry Moore Foundation; Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009), pp. 52-53, no. 11, p. 11.