A Bust by Dominique Maggesi for the Portland Museum

Dominique Maggesi (1807-1892)
Portrait of Dr. A., 1844
Marble - 63.5 x 36.8 cm
Portland, Art Museum
Photo : D. R. (domaine public)

12/5/14 - Acquisition - Oregon, Portland Art Museum - A sculptor who was born and died in Carrara naturally works with marble. Dominique Fortuné Maggesi devoted himself to it all his life though he settled in Bordeaux in 1829 where he taught and became official sculptor between 1832 and 1888.
He produced notably the portraits of Montaigne and Montesquieu which stand since 1858 in the Place des Quinconces, participated in the décor of the Church of Saint Seurin and the pediment of the Bordeaux court house. Maggesi was also a member of the Académie de Bordeaux between 1833 and 1850 but exhibited in the Paris Salons of 1838, 1841, 1844 and 1847.

A fashionable sculptor among the members of Bordeaux society, he executed many likenesses in bust form, particularly as of the 1840’s. Thus, the Portland Art Museum acquired in 2013 from the David & Constance Yates Gallery a portrait of Doctor A., no doubt a friend of the artist, sculpted in 1844. Generally, Maggesi represented his models in contemporary costume paying close attention to describing the garment. Here, he chose rather an allusion to Antiquity in this bust which idealizes the face, recognizable thanks to the beauty spot, the doctor’s aquiline nose, also his hair with the long sideburns on the cheeks. The treatment of the hair in thick individual locks is characteristic of the sculptor. He produced other antique busts, even adding drapery to the supposed portrait of Lamartine, which came up for auction at Sotheby’s on 30 September 2011 as well as the portrait of Lodi-Martin Duffour-Dubergier residing at the Musée d’Aquitaines in Bordeaux.

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Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, lundi 12 mai 2014

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