Monumental vase “Andromaque and Pyrrhus”, Darte Frères in Paris

(Empire period)

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Monumental and museum quality vase depicting a mythological scene after the masterpiece of French painter Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, “Andromache and Pyrrhus” (the Louvre in Paris). The rest of the base is gilded and engraved with empire decorations. Crater vase on piedouche and “crosse” handles ending in Lion’s masks in gilt biscuit. An amazing piece of art.

Size: H 80cm – base 25cm x 25cm

Attributed to the prestigious manufactory of the Darte Brothers in Paris.

Provenance: Collection of the Duesberg Museum in Mons (BE).

Lit: The scene takes place in the palace of Pyrrhus, in Buthrote, capital of Epirus. Hermione is waiting for her promised wedding for which she has gone to Sparta. But the son of Achilles (Pyrrhus) procrastinates, neglects her, because he loves Andromache, widow of Hector, his slave, to whom he offers his hand, his crown and at the same time the salvation of their son Astyanax. The Greeks, very concerned, send Oreste to Pyrrhus to claim the child from him. Oreste, who is in love with Hermione, hopes that Pyrrhus will refuse by dismissing his fiancée, who could then accept his love. The threat of the Greeks is a weapon in the hands of Pyrrhus who tries to convince Andromache. This one, although anxious, opposes resistance. Hermione does not hide from Oreste that she loves Pyrrhus, however she accepts that Oreste asks her rival to choose between her and Astyanax. The answer makes her storm out, because Pyrrhus and Andromache will marry.

This scene was part of Jean Racine’s (1639-1699) tragedy presented to the public for the frist time in 1667 in Paris and it was the source of inspiration of Guérin.

Lit: Darte in Paris is one of the prestigious porcelain manufactories of Paris. There were three Darte brothers, Joseph (1765-1832), Louis Joseph (1766-1843) and Jean François (1768-1834). In 1795 they pursued a venture in porcelain and bought a factory in Paris, located at 3 rue de Charonne. The three brothers opened a shop at the Palais Royal, under the direction of Jean François. In 1804, they separated amicably and each carried his part of utensils and porcelains. The brothers Louis Joseph and Jean François found a new company, thus retaining the name of Darte Frères and moved to rue de la Roquette, while Joseph Darte remained under “Darte Ainé in Paris” and moved to rue de Popincourt . This is the only signature of Darte that can be attributed with certainty to the manufacture of the rue de Popincourt. The factory will operate for nearly 15 years and there is very little porcelain bearing this mark today. The style is of both manufactories is decidedly the same. Joseph will sell the factory to François Gérard Discry on April 30, 1822.

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