Signed G Minne
Bronze with a rich dark brown patina.
Height 25 1/4 inches (25cm)
Conceived 1897 and cast before 1904
l´Homme a l´Outre depicts a young man holding a leather waterbag moments before pouring the contents. The model was conceived in 1897 and was originally intended for a baptismal before Minne removed it from it religious context. In the original composition, when the work was designed to from part of a Christening font, the addition of the waterbag becomes clear, with its contents representing the source of life and an important symbol in baptismal ceremony.
Once removed from the religious context, Minne was interested in the idea of water as a mirroring tool, creating an ability for the figure to pour and then look back at himself in the water. Indeed, some scholars have suggested that the present work suggests a profane image of John the Baptist, offering a universal, rather than religious redemption. Certainly the idea of introspection and inward looking is a key motif that runs throughout much of Minne’s sculpture and is a key concept for unlocking the multi layered meaning of his work.
Here we see a tall, nude slender young man, typical of Minne’s output and an ideal vehicle for the sculptor to focus the viewer not on physical or muscular strength, but rather on the inner power and isolation of the figure.
The present cast is extremely fine quality and was cast by the Peterman foundry, who are known for producing the finest examples of Minne’s work during his lifetime. It is also stamped with the artists monogram and another cast of the model, also displaying the same markings, is in the collection of the Royal museum of fine arts in Belgium. This cast entered the museum collections in 1929 and it is likely that the present version was also cast before this date.
George Minne, Compositional drawing for L’Homme à L’outre, Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent
George Minne, L’Homme à L’outre, Collection of the Royal museum of fine arts in Belgium