16" ARTICULATED ARTIST'S MODEL/MANNEQUIN
With slightly furrowed brow, France, 1850-1875; Purchased from Bie Baert Antiques, Antwerp, Belgium
Sale Price: $1,625
Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
Old marks and scratches consistent with age and use. Right hand has been reattached with glue and some glue residue remains on hand and forearm and side of hip.
The articulated wooden figures known as artists’ mannequins or lay figures could be found among the stocks of art supply merchants from the early 16th century. They were present in the ateliers of Michelangelo, Titian, Degas, Boldini and Courbet. These obliging and indefatigable models, ranging in size from under 7 inches to larger than life-size, were used to study the figure and, perhaps more commonly, to recreate the drape of clothing or fabric and the resulting fall of light and shadow over the human form. By the end of the eighteenth-century, demand from artists for accurately proportioned and fully articulating figures was so great that they became works of art in themselves. The figures grew more androgynous in the nineteenth century, but no less elaborate or lifelike. The finest examples were made in the leading ateliers of Paris in pine, linden or walnut with wooden pegs and ball joints. Ownership was coveted and “Mannequin Articulé” would be listed in the inventory of important artists’ possessions. They remain keenly desirable today.