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Manufacture de Sèvres, Greek vase with wheels

acquisition des Amis

Manufacture de Sèvres, Greek vase with wheels

Designed by Jules Diéterle (1811-1889), this vase is part of a group of neo-Greek forms, here “imitating the Etruscan”, elaborated by the Manufacture de Sèvres in the years 1848-1849 under the administration of Jacques-Joseph Ebelmen (1814-1852).

Perched on a stretched campaniform foot, this model of vase with a bulbous body and flared mouth with four handles offers a formal analogy with one of the two Apulian Nestorides in the Denon collection). 

Produced from the second quarter of the fourth century onwards, the apulian nestorides most often have a “sack-shaped” belly (as is the case here) and are frequently decorated with scenes depicting the ritual meeting of a man and a woman. 

Dieterle’s talent lies in his ability to adapt the artisanal and rustic vibrations of the original antique form to make it more sophisticated in a perfection of lines and design, characteristic of the productions of the Sèvres manufactory. 

Cultivated interpretation and fashionable taste have therefore contributed to the elaboration of a series of these vases cast in Sèvres as early as 1848. 

The grey-blue background is decorated with two antique scenes illustrating the abduction of Déjanire by the centaur Nessus in paste-on-paste decoration in the manner of cameos. 

The decoration here is not confined to the limits imposed by a painting, the figures are projected in the weightlessness of a space with no other limit than the shape of the vase. This very free layout of the decoration confers a decorative power to this piece. 

This theme of centaurs was particularly suited to this vase sold to Amable Amédé, Comte de Beaumont, president of the Equestrian Club of Pau, the city where he lived. 

This Greek vase with casters echoes the monumental Hercules de Lameire vase of 1878, kept in the Musée d’Orsay, which uses the same paste-on-paste decoration executed by Albert Dammouse, in the manner of a cameo. The artist uses the same freedom of composition to evoke a dreamed antiquity that can now be assimilated with the modernity of the republic.

Photo: © Musée d’Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt