Bust of a Black Woman

After Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828)
Inscribed: “fondu, ciselé par thomire1” (Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843))
Cast by Rubéron
Patinated bronze and gilt bronze
Inv. CAM 259
© Les Arts Décoratifs

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Inscription on the pedestal: RENDUE A LA LIBERTÉ ET A L’ÉGALITÉ PAR LA CONVENTION NATIONALE DU 16 PLUVIOSE DEUXIÈME DE LAPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE UNE ET INDIVISIBLE2. This bust evokes the abolition of slavery by the decree of February 4, 1794. It was inspired by a remarkable fountain that Houdon exhibited at the Salon of 1783, and that the Duc d’Orléans placed in his garden, the present-day Parc Monceau. It featured a life-size representation of a young black servant (made of lead and painted black) pouring water from a gilt bronze ewer over a young bathing woman (made of white marble).

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