Jean Baptiste Clésinger (French, 1814-1883)
Bronze figure of the Greek poet Sappho (c. 630 BC) holding her lyre, signed and titled and with “Bronzes Artistiques de Paris” founder’s seal.
Known to his friends as Auguste, Clésinger was trained in sculpting by his father, a renown stone mason and monument sculptor. Although, he did not begin exhibiting until age 49, his reputation was quickly established. He proceeded to exhibit extensively and won numerous medals. Only one year after his professional debut, he was made an Officer of the Legion of Honour.
He married the daughter of Georges Sand which brought him into an exceedingly prestigious social circle. This, in turn, lead to many commissions for portrait busts. Although Clésinger specialised in this work, his best known piece remains the colossal bust of Liberty on the Champ de Mars.
Primarily a sculptor in marble, he did have several pieces cast in bronze. Among his better known bronzes are depictions of the tragic Greek siblings Orestes and Iphigenia.
His work is held in numerous museums throughout France including: Musée des Beaux-arts in Marseille Chantilly, Musée d'Orsay in Paris, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and many others.
Clésinger is listed in Dictionary of Western Sculptors in Bronze by Mackay and Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs by Bénézit.