Genie de la Danse, an 1865-75 sculpture by Jean Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875) was designed for the facade of the new Opera of Paris.
Epitomising the Napoleon III style, the Garnier was one of the largest constructions of the Second Empire.
Architect Charles Garnier called on four contemporary sculptors to make groups depicting harmony, instrumental music, lyrical drama and dance.
Carpeaux was commissioned in 1865. It took him three years to come up with the sculpture.
Numerous studies were rejected by Garnier. In January 1868 the original terracotta cast was delivered to the architect.
Unveiled on the facade in 1869 it triggered violent reactions from a public shocked by the indecency of the figure. A month later it was vandalised and splashed with black ink.
Genie de la Danse was acquired by collectors from Carpeaux’s daughter in 1927. Only one other study is known.
It was acquired by Robert de Rothschild during the sale of the sculptor’s studio in 1913.
Genie de la Danse comes up at Christie’s in Paris on September 15 estimated at €600k to €1m. © Christie’s Images Limited 2016
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