Jules Eugène Humbert, Manufacture de Sèvres, Rimini shape Vase, 1868
Jules Eugene Humbert. Manufacture de Sèvres. Rejoux, gilder.
Vase Rimini shape, 1868.
Porcelain, H. 113 cm
History: so far, 2016, acquisition of the Société des Amis des musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie (SAMO),
2016, accepted by the State as a gift from the SAMO for the Public Establishment of the Musée d’Orsay.
Photo credit: © photo musée d’Orsay / rmn – Patrice Schmidt
A pupil of Picot and Charles Gleyre, Jules Eugène Humbert regularly exhibited drawings at the Salon from 1851 to 1866. He leaves us a few paintings listed: Le secret surpris, 1850; Jeunes femmes au bord de la mer ou L’été, made around 1857 and kept in the Musée d’Orsay. The corpus of works listed also includes Tisbé la comédienne chez Catarina Brogadini, 1857; L’Oracle; Combat d’amours, a frieze drawing from 1857; Sacountala devant le roi Douchmanta, a decorative frieze from 1859 – according to the Indian legend ballet by Lucien Petipa in 1858 – and in 1861, La cigale ayant chanté tout l’été, a decorative frieze exhibited with Il ne faut pas jouer avec le feu and Le Printemps.
The Manufacture de Sèvres preserves the oil on canvas corresponding to the figure of Diana represented on the belly of the vase and some drawings by this artist who had a career as a painter in the Manufacture during the Second Empire. This vase composed in glory of Diana the Huntress is of a chromatic richness characteristic of the middle of the Second Empire in the associations of green violets and pinks. The art of colour was then taken to new heights following the progress of chemistry, so these chromatic audacities with oriental references characterise the production of the monumental vases of Sèvres. During the Second Empire, they echoed the pictorial and artistic currents, whether academic or more innovative. Diane is represented, coming out of the reeds, and busy hunting, escorted by her loves. The reverse of the vase, on a lighter background, represents two loves, on either side of a pedestal surmounted by the bust of the Goddess. The same type of ornamental repertoire refers to the decorative formulas of the monumental vase presented in 1867 at the World’s Fair and currently presented as part of the Spectacular Second Empire exhibition. It is kept by the Musée de Sèvres et de la céramique and its decoration is reminiscent of the painting La Vénus de Cabanel in the 1853 salon.
As it is often the case with these large vases, the production of the manufactory admitted imperfections; this vase will be indicated to be defective due to firing cracks in the handles. However, this piece was decorated and marked, and its price of 8500 francs, recorded in the registers of the manufactory, remains sufficiently high.
The Musée d’Orsay is exhibiting two vases decorated, on the same Rimini shape, with passion flower scrolls representing rich gilt bronze handles with fox heads. This example, ennobled with handles made of lion and snake mufles, links it more closely to the repertoire of large vases covered with ornaments and architectural vases that punctuate the salons and galleries of palaces.
Note by Yves Badetz, curator of decorative arts and general curator in charge of acquisitions.