Fri, Oct 14, 2016 06:00PM EDT - Sat, Oct 15, 2016 06:00PM EDT
FRANCOIS-RUPERT CARABIN (1862 - 1932)
Glazed ceramic humidor, "Femme et Poivre," France, ca. 1897
Impressed artist cipher 68
5" x 5 1/2"
Provenance: Collection of Jerome Shaw, Florida
In 1897 Rupert Carabin created a series of small art objects that were, nominally, functional. The pepper was destined to serve as a tobacco jar, the eggplant is a box for dried fruits and nuts, but the gourd’s function is less clear – perhaps as an inkwell. Typical of the sculptor’s work, there is tension and mystery: a dreaming woman embraces an enormous pepper, another cradles a gourd larger than herself, and a third’s small head emerges from the end of the eggplant. They were discussed and illustrated at the time; see, for example, Studio, vol. 10 (1897), 56-57; Art et décoration, vol. 1 (1897), 40, 46. Carabin had been commissioned to create these works by Lucien Moline, the director of the Galerie Lafitte in Paris. He espoused the democratic ideal of rejecting costly, unique objets d’art. Instead, Moline proposed having painters and sculptors create useful objects that could be produced in small series at lesser prices. These, it was thought, would appeal to art lovers with moderate incomes. To emphasize their artistic nature and limited number of exemplars produced, Carabin’s ceramics were individually numbered. Little more than a hundred were made of each of these models. The pepper is impressed “68,” the eggplant “18,” and the gourd “30.” – Dr. Martin Eidelberg
Fleck to inner edge of rim.