|Biography from Anderson Galleries, Inc.:|
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Mercie's sculpture received tremendous public and critical acclaim when
it was exhibited in 1874. In his review of the Salon of that year
the critic, Jules-Antoine Castagnary observed: "While monachrists
quarrel over the debris of our battered fortunes, and our statesman go
through their gymnastics and exhibit indifference to everything save
their personal ambition, there exists a young sculptor who has
undertaken to speak directly to our nation and to console our
people." A few years later, an American visitor went so far as to
claim: "No effort of French genius since Sedan- no poem, romance,
oration, or work of art has given so much solace to the defeated nation
as this statue."
The model earned Mercie a Medal of Honor at the
Salon of 1874, and was purchased by the city of Paris for 12,000
francs. It was cast in bronze by Thiebaul Freres for 8,5000
francs and shown at the Salon the following year. Gloria Victis was originally erected in the Place Montholon, Paris, but is now preserved in the Musee du Petit Palais.
The plaster model was shown again at the 1879 Exposition Universelle,
where it won a grand prize. Other large bronze casts are located
in Niort (1881), Agen (1883), Bordeaux (1885), Chalons sur Marne
(1890-91), Choler (1901). and Copenhagen (1906).
In the recent catalog for the exhibition Rodin Rediscovered
(National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. 1981), Anne Pingeot noted
that the Barbedienne Foundry was authorized to make reductions of Gloria Victis
in May 1877 on the condition that the city of Paris received the
largest cast and the model be returned intact to the city. Three
reductions were produced in 1879. In 1888 the Barbedienne catalog
offered it in its original size and in three reductions; in the next
year, in four reductions, and in 1900 in seven reduced sizes, which
demonstrate the sculpture's enduring appeal.
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