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An Impressive Pair of 19th Century Orientalist Spelter Figures After Arthur Waagen, Circa 1890  


An impressively large & well cast pair of Orientalist figures depicting Middle Eastern male & female musicians attired in traditional costume. Both figures are modelled ‘contrapposto’ intended to convey a natural sense of rhythmic movement, with the male figure shown playing a hand drum held aloft, and the female figure shown cradling a lyre on her shoulder, her hair flung dramatically over her back.            


Both figures exhibiting original hand painted gilt highlights and mounted atop rectilinear shaped spelter bases decorated with arabesque motifs. Both signed in the cast verso, ‘Waagen’, with no apparent foundry marks, and raised overall upon what appears to be their original conforming & ebonized wood plinths. Both exhibiting an old untouched surface & patina, with areas of rubbing to the gilded highlights.


The male figure measuring 31” high, the female figure measuring 33.75” high.


Max Arthur Waagen (1838-1898) was a celebrated French sculptor recognized for his accomplished Orientalist figural & animal sculptures. He exhibited several works at the major Paris Salons from 1869 to 1887.

An impressive pair of 19th C Orientalist spelter figures, Arthur Waagen, c1890

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