9665 The Michelangelo Clock by Jean-Jacques Feuchere
A large Napoleon III gilt bronze and patinated bronze mantel clock by Feuchere and Vittoz, with a figure of Michelangelo seated, leaning on the Rebellious Slave and turning to his right with a folio cover inscribed Michel Ange Buonaroti Pittore Scultore e Architetto Fiorentino, the base supported by crouching figures with a garland of fruit on a shaped black marble base. Signed: J Feuchere scpt and Vittoz bronzier. Dark bronze patination; signs of later overpainting and some repair to patination.
Height: 32 ins (81 cms)
Width: 20 ins (51 cms)
Depth: 12.5 ins (32 cms) £28,000
Jean Jacques Feuchere came from a distinguished family of Parisian bronze workers. Though his training under the Academic sculptor Jean-Pierre Cortot, he first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1831, winning a 2nd Class Medal in the Salon of 1834. Important commisions for monuments followed at this time; panels for the Arc de Triomphe and St Theresa for the Madelaine church among others, during a period of monumental building projects motivated by King Louis Philippe. Although trained as a Statuaire or figure sculptor, he is most well known for his work in the industrial arts, regarded as a slightly lower achievement. He contributed figures to the legendary surtout de table commissioned for the Duc D’Orleans in 1834, parts of which were coincidentally later bought by Vittoz in 1853 at the auction organised by the state following seizure from the family.
The original model for Michaelangelo was refused for the 1843 salon, following this disappointment he sold the model and all rights to the decorative bronze manufacturer Vittoz. Feuchere was an avid collector of renaissance art, paintings an works of art, most of his income was spent in this direction. He seems to have little interest in copyright editions of his work and prefered to sell models outright, this of course also suited the decorative bronze foundaries who could benefit from long production periods without having to share the proceeds.
Vittoz had a well established bronze foundry at this point, but was keen to enter the new arena of trade exhibitions. His first Expo was in Paris in 1849, where among others he exhibited this clock as well as three others after Feuchere but his most well known display was at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. His products are described and illustrated in several editions of the exhibition journal and the Michaelangelo clock very clearly shown in the illustrated catalogue. The Vittoz business and the rights to all models was sold to a rival company, Labroue, in 1852, allowing us to date this clock to between 1849-1852.
A later version of this clock, an edition signed by Labroue, is in the Louvre Museum