Description In 1775 Tassaert relocated from Paris to Berlin to become court sculptor to Frederick the Great of Prussia. The Antwerp-born sculptor had previously spent about 30 years in Paris establishing his career. This small, finely modeled marble sculpture, likely depicting the goddess Venus, predates his move to Berlin. A version was exhibited in 1769, but as several very similar sculptures exist, it is difficult to know whether this piece, acquired by Henry Walters in 1914, is that original. The figure of a nude women sits on the ground with her knees raised and her ankles crossed, holding in her right hand a strap or ribbon attached to a quiver containing roses, and with her left grasping more roses which lie beside her on some drapery. A statue meeting this descripiton was shown in the Salon of 1769, however, other versions exist and as they are not signed it is difficult to be sure which one was shown. A version very closely resembling this one can be found in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, which comes with a gilt wood base. The composition seems to have been well known in the late eighteenth-century. See Henry Hawley, "Tassaert's 'Venus,' not Falconet's 'Flora,'" Antologia di Belle Arti, La Scultura, Studi in onore di Andrew S. Ciechanowiecki, Nuova Serie, 48-51, 1994, pp. 100-106. This piece is fully carved in the round.
Examined in preparation for exhibition.
Cleaned in preparation for exhibition.
- French Painting and Sculpture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 1935.
Provenance Seligmann, Rey & Gruel [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [see album of Seligmann]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1914 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1914
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