"Gloria Victis," Bronze, ex. Michael Jackson.
Sculptor: Antonin Mercie (French, 19th Century), 99" x 58" (251.5 x 147.5 cm), parcel-gilt and bronze statue mounted on a black marble socle, signed "A. Mercie" on base. Conceived circa 1874.
Mercié created this sculpture of a winged figure of Fame bearing aloft a fallen soldier in response to France’s loss in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. (Upon France's defeat, Mercié changed the hero's head from lifted to fallen.) He intended to honor those French soldiers who had fallen in the conflict, especially his friend, the artist Henri Regnault. The work’s title, engraved on its base, reverses the ancient idiom “Vae victis!” (“Woe to the vanquished!”), affirming the resurgent spirit of France in the face of defeat. The uplifting image of heroic sacrifice resonated with the French people, who lauded the monumental sculpture upon its 1874 Paris debut. Additional casts (believed to have been cast by the prestigious bronzier, Ferdinand Barbedienne) can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the National Gallery of Art.
As "The King of Pop," Michael Jackson acquired many beautiful objects, joyfully decorating his fabled ranch and amusement park in Santa Barbara County, California. Due to the entertainer's enormous global popularity, he had virtually unlimited funds with which to purchase treasured objects. He was particularly fond of bronze sculpted figures, many of which could be found on the grounds of his ranch.
In 2009, a major auction of Michael's possessions was to be held. A true "headliner", there was great excitement over the coming event. Legal issues arose however, and the auction was cancelled. Michael Jackson fans around the world were terribly disappointed.
One passionate fan, however, did not give up. Determined to own some of Michael's treasures, he pursued the matter and in the end, was able to acquire this figure and the approximately sixty five other sculptures in this auction from the Michael Jackson Collection. It is believed that these objects are the only items from the cancelled "King of Pop" Auction ever to be sold.
Provenance: Julien's Auctions; The Collection of the King of Pop: Michael Jackson, April 22-25, 2009, Lot 297
A notarized letter of provenance from the consignor will be provided with this lot.
Please note: Lots 1 - 35 and 51 - 80 will ship from Southern California. Guernsey's can put bidders in contact with a recommended shipper for a quote.
Mercie was an accomplished French sculptor and painter, honored by the Paris Salon during his lifetime. In France, some of his greatest works can be found adorning the Tuileries Garden, the Hotel de Ville, and the Musee d'Orsay. Mercie is known in America primarily for three monuments: the Robert E. Lee Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia; his statue of the Marquis de Lafayette in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.; and the Francis Scott Key Monument in Baltimore, Maryland.