The Flood

French
1800
Claude Michel, called Clodion (French, 1738–1814)


Object Place: Europe, France

Dimensions

Overall: 54.5 x 27.9 x 22.9 cm (21 7/16 x 11 x 9 in.)

Accession Number

1981.398

Medium or Technique

Terracotta

On View

Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Sculpture

This terracotta is Clodion’s small-scale sketch for a lifesize plaster–one of his most important late works–that he exhibited at the Salon of 1801, in Paris. The sculpture depicts a father carrying his son as he struggles against the waves to find a higher elevation. Clodion intentionally selected the heroic subject matter in an attempt to secure a commission from the new consular government of France, headed by Napoleon Bonaparte. Although he earned a first-class medal for his works, the commission never materialized, and the original plaster has disappeared.


This terracotta is Clodion’s small-scale sketch for a lifesize plaster-one of his most important late works-that he exhibited at the Salon of 1801, in Paris. The sculpture depicts a father carrying his son as he struggles against the waves to find a higher elevation. Clodion intentionally selected the heroic subject matter in an attempt to secure a commission from the new consular government of France, headed by Napoléon Bonaparte. Although he earned a first-class medal for his work, the commission never materialized, and the original plaster has disappeared.

Inscription

Scéne du dèluge.

Markings

Clodion·1800

Provenance

1814, included in the inventory of Clodion's studio after his death [See Note 1]. June 12-13, 1911, anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 65. By 1981, Peter Cecil Wilson (b.1913-d.1984), London; June 14, 1981, Peter Wilson sale, Sotheby's, Monaco, lot 38, to Alex Wengraf, Ltd., London; sold by Alex Wengraf, to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 1, 1981).

NOTE:

[1] On the provenance of the sculpture, see Anne L. Poulet, “Clodion’s Sculpture of the Déluge,” Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, 3 (1991), 51-76, here 71-72, endnote 14.

Credit Line

John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund