Le Reveil (The Awakening)
Louis Julien (Jules) Franceschi
(French , 1825-1893)
Signed Jules Franceschi
Height: 25 4/5'' (65.6 cm)
Conceived and carved circa 1873
Louis Julien ‘Jules’ Franceschi was born in Bar-sur-Aube in 1825 and was of Italian parentage, his father being an ornamental sculptor. The young Jules first studied at the Ecole de Dessin in Besançon with his brother, Jean-Paul-Paschal, before moving to Paris in 1841. The pair, alongside Carpeaux, studied under the great French sculptor François Rude.
Seven years later, in 1848, Jules made his Salon debut obtaining his first medal in 1861. The 1860s were a prolific time for Franceschi; this first major success was followed in 1864 and 1869 with further medals. The sculptor was later made Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 1874. A number of his works can be seen in museums around France, most notably in Troyes where there is another version of the present model, Le Reveil (The Awakening).
Franceschi produced some delicate and imaginative allegories of mythological women including Young Huntress, Andromeda, Danaide, Hebe, Fortune, Painting, Isis as well as this particular work, le Reveil, which was conceived in 1873. These pieces spanned between 1857 and 1894 and were all exhibited at the Paris Salon. He was also renowned as a sculptor of fine portraits, rivalling Carpeaux in style and subtlety.
Franceschi was also popular as a public architectural sculptor and was commissioned to do work on a series of buildings, including figures for the Gare du Nord, the Louvre, Tuileries, Hotel de Ville and the church of Saint Sulpice in Paris.
Le Reveil depicts a nude young woman reclining on a chair, which is draped with her garments, partially covering her right leg. The young woman is reclining in a languid and sensuous pose, with one arm raised over her forehead as if she is waking up from peaceful slumber.