Alexandre Joseph Falguière
Thiebaut Freres Paris foundry stamp; base signed A. Falguiere; dark brown patina.
Height 30 1/2 x diameter 10 inches.
Property from the Michael Hall Collection, Miami Beach, Florida
A scholarship awarded by the city of Toulouse allowed Falguière to study with the sculptor François Jouffroy (1806-1882) at the École des Beaux-Arts. He made his debut at the Salon in 1857; two years later, he was the joint winner with Léon Cugnot (1835-1894) of the Prix de Rome. At the Académie Française in Rome, Falguière came under the influence of fellow student Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827-1875), who would become a leading sculptor of the Second Empire (1852-1870). Falguière remained in Rome until 1865 but exhibited at the Salon in Paris without interruption from 1863 to 1899.
Despite the academy’s objections over the excessive realism in his works, many of his sculptures were acquired by the French government. After his return to Paris, Falguière made a series of sculptures of female figures, identified by mythological names but conceived as real, modern women. In 1882 Falguière was appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts and elected to membership at the Académie des Beaux-Arts. An extremely productive artist, he exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1867 and 1878, and the Exposition Centennale of 1900.
By all accounts, Michael Hall, actor, collector and art dealer, was a memorable character who led a truly remarkable life. Michael delighted in being outrageous - frequently the life of the party, always with an entertaining repertory of anecdotes and jokes. Michael was also a very serious collector with an inquisitive nature, extremely passionate and opinionated concerning his chosen field of Renaissance and Baroque Works of Art, and was always willing to share his vast knowledge.
Michael was mentored by Wilhelm Valentiner, a specialist in Italian Renaissance Art and then a consultant to what would become the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Through Valentiner, Hall was introduced to Sir John Pope-Hennessy and Sir Kenneth Clark, and formed friendships with a number of authorities including Rudolf Wittkower, H.W. Janson and Francis Watson.
In 1963, Hall moved to New York, and with William Mills, opened a gallery at 6 East 79th Street. His clients grew to include among others, Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art.
In later years, Michael and his husband, Thomas divided time between their Florida, New York and Connecticut residences, but never stopped enjoying and collecting decorative arts. Those who knew Michael would agree his passion for collecting knew no bounds.