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Sabine Houdon (1787–1836)

Jean Antoine Houdon (French, Versailles 1741–1828 Paris)

Date:
1788
Culture:
French, Paris
Medium:
White marble on gray marble socle
Dimensions:
Overall, without base (confirmed): H. 10 3/4 x W. 8 7/8 x D. 5 7/8 in., 20lb. (27.3 x 22.5 x 14.9 cm, 9.0719kg); Height with base (confirmed): 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Bequest of Mary Stillman Harkness, 1950
Accession Number:
50.145.66
  • Description

    Houdon's canonical portraits of the French philosophes (as well as of America's founding fathers) have contributed to his popularity in America. No less beloved are his depictions of children, of which the most beautiful may be the head of his own daughter Sabine. The delicate naturalistic folds of flesh at the intersection of Sabine's chest and arms are carved with a melting softness that perfectly captures the limpid fragility of infant skin. Her alert, unsentimentaliized features present a personality whose distinction transcends the category of children's portraits.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: [on tranche of back]: sabinet houdon /1788

  • Provenance

    Jean Antoine Houdon (1788–d. 1828) ; his daughter Sabine Houdon , Paris (1828–d. 1836) ; her grandson Henri Perron , Paris (by descent, 1836–after ca. 1905) ; descended in the family of Henri Perron (until after ca. 1905) ; Jacques-Antoine Doucet (by 1906–12; Doucet sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, January 5–8, 1912, no. 113); [ Duveen Brothers (in 1912; sold to Judge Elbert H. Gary, New York) ] ; Judge Elbert H. Gary , New York (by 1914–28)
    ; [ Gary sale, American Art Association , New York, April 19–21, 1928, no. 251, unsold ] ; [ sold by private agreement through Knoedler and Co., New York , April 22, 1928; sold to Mrs. E. S. Harkness ] ; Mrs. Edward S. Harkness , New York (1928–d. 1950; bequeathed to MMA)

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
200668

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