Le génie a pour son domaine L’immortalite: 2010

    L & F Moreau Lamp base
L & F Moreau Lamp base

How’s your French for translating that?

“The domain of genius is immortality.”

This  has been a difficult assignment, though. Usually a collector’s item can be found on the internet, and all related information about artist, manufacturer, tradition, social culture, etc. can also be easily found; collectors tend to be a diligent and detail-oriented lot, and it never ceases to amaze me how much some people know about their subject. And, of course, because these items are bought and sold all the time, it behooves everyone to put it on the internet with as much information as possible.

However, I can’t find much at all about this piece or the artists because it’s locked in one of the foreign-language pages I can’t translate very well.

The sculpture was made by two brothers, Louis Auguste and Hippolyte Francois Moreau, part of the Moreau family of sculptors from Dijon, France (yes, also famous for the mustard). Louis worked in bronze and metal sculpture while Francois was a painter and sculptor. They collaborated on many, many highly ornate and detailed decorative pieces in the Art Nouveau era, mostly lamps and clocks, and signed their pieces “L & F Moreau”.

These ladies are proclaiming the truth, I’m sure, with the long traditional court trumpet, those clingy, flowing dresses and one with a laurel wreath on her head the other wings and holding two laurel wreaths. I didn’t photograph the whole thing because I wanted to be able to see the tablet with the phrase, plus it just gets lost with everything else on the table.

Now, the phrase—I think it’s Socrates, or inspired by him, because he has a list of other “the domain of…” phrases, but here I’ve lost out again. I just can’t find the origin of this phrase.

You never know what will show up at your local vintage consignment shop, in this case, Carnegie Antiques. It’s always worth a look.


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