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Rare carved stone sculptures of embracing putti
Summerhill Gallery
November 1, 2012 - 5:28 pm
Antiques : Furnishings : Garden : Statuary

Rare carved stone sculptures of embracing puttiPalm Beach Putti

Where do I start.  These architectural elements, now become wonderful garden statuary are, to my mind, a meeting of the old and new worlds.  The male putti are in the classic European tradition, chubby-cheeked and perfectly at home in their traditional garb (or lack thereof), though perhaps a little older in their figures if not their faces.  The female putti, having less of a tradition to subscribe to, are bold, erotic and in-your-face beautiful, exuding self confidence.  Their poses, artfully contrived, place them quite literally and figuratively in each other's arms.  One pair faces inward in an embrace of togetherness, a slight smile on the boy's face.  The other pair faces outward, facing the larger world.  In each case the girls' hair seems to flow into the folds of the fabric that envelops them.  These pieces are truly New World and not just another another replication of baroque European garden ornament.  Finding indigenous garden sculpture is very rare. Finding an indigenous artistic expression of it is much rarer.  

These pieces are of carved stone, one with a blue/gray tinge (though not to the degree that the photos have picked up).  Perhaps a form of limestone?  Both have been subject to some weathering and the pitting caused by such exposure.  They are supposedly from a Palm Beach estate.   I say "supposedly" as the former owners who have had them for some years never asked which particular estate when they purchased them.  They have resided indoors not far from Palm Beach since that time.  They were purportedly part of an outside wall surrounding a pool; different placement would certainly explain different wear patterning, and such wear would conform to this usage.

If anyone has any useful information I would certainly appreciate it.