Description & Technical information

 L’Eté is an adaptation of La Palombella, the bust of a Roman beauty called Barbara Pasquarelli (1842-1861) that Carpeaux met on his trip to Rome in 1856. Wearing a crown of flowers and wheat sheafs and a pearl necklace with a pendant, she was to be exhibited as L’Eté, an allegory of summer, that same year in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes, owns a patinated plaster version of L’Eté which was given to the museum by Mme Carpeaux in 1882.
 
Born into poor circumstances, Carpeaux began his career in Paris and became the leading sculptor of the Second Empire. Having won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1854, he arrived to Italy in 1856 where he continued to work as a pensioner at the Villa Medici until 1862. While in Rome he produced such works as the Fisherboy Listening to a Seashell (plaster, 1857; Paris, Louvre) in homage to Rude’s Neapolitan Fisherboy (marble, 1833; Paris, Louvre), and the group Count Ugolino and his Sons (plaster, 1857–61; bronze, 1860, Paris, Musée d’Orsay).
 
When he met Barbara Pasquarelli in Rome in 1856 Carpeaux was stuck by her beauty and asked her to model for him. Soon his feelings deepened and Edmond Guillaume, an architect from Valenciennes, wrote from Rome to his father that “Carpeaux has over his eyes no other blindfold than love”[1]. Carpeaux thought about marrying her but students at the Academy were not allowed to marry. While Barbara Pasquelli died in 1860, the artist’s continued to be inspired by her and used her likeness for the marble La Palombella exhibited at the 1864 Salon or for the personification of France on the Pavillon de Flore in 1863.
 
On his return to Paris Carpeaux was given a number of official commissions, including the touching statue of The Prince Imperial with his Dog Nero (1867; Paris, Mus. d'Orsay) and the ebullient high relief of The Triumph of Flora on the Pavillon de Flore of Napoleon III's new Louvre. He was also much in demand as a society portraitist, and nearly all the famous personages of the period were modelled by him in bust format.

[1] Letter dated 25 July 1857, quoted in The passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, exh. cat, 2014

Date:  1856
Period:  1850-1900, 19th century
Origin:  France
Medium: Original plaster, Polychromy
Signature: No 1 engraved into the plaster at the end of a curl on the back of the head With metal cachet Propriété Carpeaux on the reverse, and the number 45-672 written in pencil above
Dimensions: 67 cm (26³/₈ inches)
Provenance: Collection Germain Bapst
Collecton Duc de Trévise
with Fabius Frères, Paris, until 2011
Literature: M. Poletti, A. Richarme, Jean Baptiste Carpeaux sculpteur, Paris, 2003, p. 131 (illus.)
J. Draper and E. Papet, The passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum, New York, 2014, p. 65, fig. 35 (illus.)
 
Related literature:
Mabille de Poncheville, Carpeaux inconnu ou la Tradition Recueillie, Paris, Bruxelles, 1921, p. 152
Exhibitions: Paris, Petit Palais, J. B. Carpeaux (1827-1875), 1955-1956, n. 12 (illus.)
Categories: Sculpture