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J. P. Worth: a Bronze Relief by Libero Andreotti

J. P. Worth: a Bronze Relief by Libero Andreotti

Libero Andreotti was one of the greatest exponents of Italian Novecento sculpture. While still alive, his work was already much esteemed and sought after, due to his innovative ability to combine echoes of the Impressionist-like Macchiaioli movement with the European traits of Rodin and Expressionism.
Gifted with a brilliant intellect and a lively temperament, he was always on a quest for new mental stimuli, which took him to travel Italy (Florence, Sicily and Milan) and then to Paris, where his pieces naturally absorbed the influence of the budding avant-garde movements.
During his stay in Milan in the early 1900s, he met the great couturier and patron of the arts Jean-Philippe Worth (1856-1926), who was the soul to the renowned Parisian ‘House of Worth’ that clothed many members of royalty at the turn of the 20th century.

Andreotti, Worth, 1909, bronze, sculpture, italian, Paris, couturier,

On the occasion of Worth’s visit to his premises, Andreotti decided on impeccable presentation, dressing elegantly in an all-white studio as austere as a clinic. In fact, the collector was much impressed by the artist’s repertoire of sophisticated sculpted greyhound-like ladies who were slightly fragile and fanciful – a style so well-suited to the designer’s aesthetic tastes that he invited the sculptor to set out for France with him.
Upon Andreotti’s arrival in Paris in 1909, Jean-Philippe Worth introduced him to the art world and Parisian society, where he mixed with European intellectuals such as Ida Rubinstein, Charles Stern and Gabriele D’Annunzio and met, among others, the artists Marinetti, Boccioni and Severini.
It was precisely in these years that Andreotti created a series of medal-portraits: profiles of society salons intellectuals, paintings-sculptures (to use the words of his fellow artist Enrico Sacchetti) paying tribute to his friends, as in the case of this striking relief-portrait of Jean-Philippe Worth, which was certainly conceived as a gift to join the couturier’s collection.

Andreotti, Worth, 1909, bronze, sculpture, italian, Paris, couturier,

The bronze plaque presented here is signed and dated “1909 J. P. WORTH PARIS L. ANDREOTTI” and bears the foundry stamp “CIRE PERDUE. A. A. HEBRARD”.
Compared to others of the artist’s works, which exist in various versions, the relief in question is, to date, the only known example of this portrait. Its preparatory plaster cast also still survives today and is housed in Pisa, in the Aldo Andreotti collection belonging to the heirs.

Libero Andreotti (Pescia 1875- Florence 1933)
JEAN-PHILIPPE WORTH
Bronze
Paris, 1909
Cm 27 x 26 h

References: Libero Andreotti, exhibition catalogue in Villa Sismondi, Valchiusa 1976, fig. 10.
Libero Andreotti, exhibition catalogue, edited by G. Appella, S. Lucchesi, R. Monti, C. Pizzorusso, Matera 31 May – 4 October 1998, artworks n° 8.

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