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Sculptures

THE INTRICATE ISSUE OF BRONZE REPRODUCTIONS

Cet article se compose de 6 pages.
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Barbedienne notably kept the original plasters made by Barye and other sculptors after they had disappeared but the works that were then produced could no longer be reworked by them. These pieces thus lack the final touch they would have brought and should be worth much less than those sculptures that were cast under their supervision.

One should however admit that bronze sculptures by Degas or Honoré Daumier are simply reproductions and certainly not original works. In addition, there have been many abuses regarding a large quantity of posthumous bronze works produced during the 20th Century notably following the agreements fetched between founders like Hébrard, Valsuani or Susse, and the heirs of several artists aimed at casting series in limited editions.

Many founders, notably Valsuani, went bankrupt during the 1960s and 1970s and the problem lies in the fact that large quantities of moulds were stolen by some unscrupulous people who went on to produce illegal casts. This resulted in several enormous scandals, notably regarding faked bronze works by Diego Giacometti, Rodin or Rembrandt Bugatti among others.

The problem regarding Rodin's bronzes is most peculiar and in that instance Gary Arseneau has certainly made in point in accusing the Musée Rodin in Paris of having flooded the market with reproductions, which he merely considers as fakes.

The Musée Rodin obtained the right to produce sculptures by Rodin over the years and many pieces cast during the past two decades have often been sold at auction without a proper description mentioning that these were modern pieces. In addition, Auguste Rodin also produced what we might term as spare parts, notably plaster legs, hands or heads which have been latter fitted accordingly so as to make complete pieces that he never designed. In this instance, Arseneau has been utterly right in denouncing such practice but apart from Rodin, his assertion that bronze reproductions are fakes seems exaggerated though museums, galleries and auction houses should be more explicit about the pieces they are showing or selling.

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