• Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
  • Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan) - Charles Henri Cordier, Bowman Sculpture Ltd
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Portrait of a man from Sudan (known as Nègre du Soudan)

Charles Henri Cordier

(French, 1827-1905)

Signed Cordier
Bronze with dark brown, green, silver and gilt patina
Height: 17" (43 cm)

Conceived in 1856 and cast within the artist's lifetime
Sold as a pair


Charles Cordier was born in Cambrai and was apprenticed as a boy to a jeweller. This experience fundamentally inspired the fine detailing, ornate and varying patinas, enamel decoration and mixed media of his later sculpture.

Cordier studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris and then with François Rude. He exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon in 1847 and soon became fascinated by foreign races. This speciality combined perfectly with the French interest in their new colony Algeria and the fashionable Beaux Ideal of the Second Empire. He thus gained the commission to produce busts for a special ethnographic gallery in the Museum of Natural History in Paris, travelling extensively on a mission sponsored by the government, going to Algeria in 1856, Greece in 1858 and Egypt in 1866.

The first bust in his series of studies was entitled Saïd Abdallah de la Tribu du Dufour and dates to 1848. This date is relevant both in French history and in Cordier’s career, for on April 27 of that year the government passed the law abolishing slavery in France and its colonies. In his unpublished memoirs, Cordier links specifically this event to the development of his art, stating that "my art incorporated the reality of a whole new subject, the revolt against slavery and the birth of anthropology." International interest in Cordier’s sculpture was sublimated by the 2004 retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, Facing the Other: Charles Cordier, Ethnographic Sculpture.

C. Cordier, Nègre du Soudan, 1856, polychrome marble and bronze, Musée d’Orsay (Paris)

Nègre du Soudan (Negro from the Sudan), also known as A Sudanese in Algerian Costume, dates to circa 1856, and derives from the model currently at the Musée d’Orsay. It was one of Cordier’s first polychrome works, combining Algerian marbles and bronze for which he gained his renown.

Cordier developed an oxidized silvered patina allowed the artist to achieve a dark colour for the surface of his bronze. The present cast showcases this effect. The polychromy of the piece is enhanced further with the silver tones of the outfit, green highlights in the turban as well as the detailed gilding throughout the sculpture.

Another, silvered bronze version of the present model is part of the Dahesh Museum in New York. The sculpture also featured in the 2017 exhibition organised by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, The Black Figure in the European Imaginary, examining the relationship between European artists and black individuals during the 19th century.

C. Cordier, Négre du Soudan, conceived in 1856 and cast within the artist’s lifetime, bronze with polychrome patination, Dahesh Museum (NY)

TEFAF Maastricht 2019

March 16, 2019 - March 24, 2019

TEFAF Maastricht 2019 March 16, 2019 - March 24, 2019

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