Carrier-Belleuse, Albert-Ernest (1824-87; French)
Bronze, size unknown
Bequest of Alfred Felton, 1904; transferred to Castlemaine, 1943; de-accessioned from the Castlemaine collection and auctioned, 1987
Unidentified; present location unknown

This work, still in the Castlemaine collection in 1983 (when it was described as a gift from the NGV in 1943), was clearly identical with the bronze “figure” by Carrier-Belleuse acquired for Melbourne from Felton’s estate in 1904.

In 1987 it was then culled in turn from the Castlemaine collection and auctioned, together with * Flaminio La Puberta 1866 {1867} Priv.coll. [SC].

Several other bronze casts by Carrier-Belleuse, showing Melodie as a seated female figure holding a lyre, have appeared on the international art market recently (see comparative photo). One of these may even be identical with the bronze Felton owned.

[comparative photo: cast of Melodie auctioned in Berlin 2015]


AR 1904, p.26 (bronze “figure” from Felton’s estate); not listed in NGV 1905

See now A Collection of Australian Art, Castlemaine Art Gallery, 1983, p.48 (details as listed; not illustrated)Many thanks to Dr Chris McAuliffe, a member of the Castlemaine Art Museum board, for advising on the history of this work and the 1987 auction, held at Sotheby’s on 29 June 1987; besides the works by Carrier-Belleuse and Flaminio, which fetched $6,000 and $4,200 respectively, a “large bronze figure of Mercury” (possibly another work previously in the Melbourne collection) was sold for $6,000. McAuliffe comments that, besides the logic of deaccessioning non-Australian works, the funds gleaned from this sale probably helped with funding a building extension at the time (email correspondence, August 2018)

For bronze casts apparently based on the same figure listed for sale recently, see (30.75” high, inscribed “A.Carrier Belleuse, Hors. Concours”; with a good reproduction; auction date given as Oct.2013); and (Sotheby’s, London, 16 Dec.2015, lot 79: as 31½” [80 cm] high, signed “A.Carrier Belleuse”; est.GB £6-8,000). See also (lot 203: as Melodie, by Carrier-Belleuse and Etienne Gaudez [base?], c.1870/80): example reproduced above