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'Gloria Victis' bronze group with clock by Mercié

by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié (French, 1845-1916)


A magnificent French patinated bronze figural group entitled 'Gloria Victis' by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercie, raised on ormolu mounted rouge marble clock base.
Mercié's original plaster sculpture of Gloria Victis won a medal at the 1874 Paris Salon. This highly detailed sculpture is Cast by Barbedienne foundry who was the leading manufacture of artistic bronzes during the second half of the nineteenth century, from a model by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercie in the last quarter 19th century. One example of this piece is at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Another one can be found in Bordeaux, France, where it faces Saint André's Cathedral.

Signed A. MERCIÉ
The base titled GLORIA VICTIS
Inscribed F. BARBEDIENNE, Fondeur Paris

Circa 1875

Height: 44" (111 cm)
Width: 22"  (56 ccm)
Depth: 18" (45 cm)

The Gloria Victis sculpture group was executed shortly after the Franco-Prussian War and, while Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié initially planned to depict Fame and a triumphant soldier, the victor was replaced with a defeated soldier following France's surrender. Replicas of this iconic composition were used on monuments commemorating the war in many French towns, including Niort, Deux-Sèvres, Agen, and Bordeaux.  Barbedienne has cast this model in six sizes

Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié (1845-1916) was one of the most successful French sculptors of his generation, and as early as 1868 he was awarded the Prix de Rome, soon followed by accolades such as the cross of the Légion d'honneur, the Medal of Honor at the 1874 Salon (for his Gloria Victis sculpture group), and the Grand Prix at the 1878 Exposition Universelle. In 1900, he became a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (where he studied in addition to the Académie de France in Rome) and in 1913 he was made President of the Société des Artistes Français.

Peter Fusco and H.W. Janson, The Romantics to Rodin:  French Nineteenth Century Sculpture from North American Collections, Los Angeles, 1980, p. 304, for an example of the model in the collection of the Clevelend Museum of Art.