François-Rupert Carabin
Fountain and Bowl

Fountain and Bowl
François Rupert Carabin (1862-1932)
Fountain and Bowl
Circa 1898
Walnut, glazed stoneware, pewter
H. 190; W. 45 cm
© DR - RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Fontaine-lavabo [Fountain and Bowl]


Carabin was trained as a sculptor, but also turned his hand to the decorative arts. He produced about twenty pieces of furniture, between 1890 and 1904, in which his sensibility as a sculptor comes to the fore. His works are particularly interesting because of their nude female figures which fulfil a structural or ornamental function.

Here the eroticism of the fountain is tinged with dreaminess. The water spurting from the goatskin pressed by the naked nymph is collected in a bowl. The decoration of the bowl suggests the edge of a pond adorned with splendid water lilies that turn into soap holders. Completely absorbed in her task, the young woman is leaning with all her weight on the goatskin in a graceful movement which is a curious mix of exertion and abandonment. This composition creates a complex, dynamic volume with very gentle contours.
The woman's skin is velvety while the leather of the goatskin feels slightly rough. The varying intensities of the warm brown tones and the sumptuous flow of oxblood red accentuate the magnificent relief created by the tussle between the nymph and the goatskin. The resulting play of light bathes the scene in a twilit mood.




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