A bronze sculpture by Mathurin Moreau
We bought this mantle clock and two
candlebra set at an antique store in Denver in the late 1990s.
We've tried to research the sculpture with little success.
There must have been more castings.
We've placed this page on the Internet in hopes someone
researching this sculpture or this sculptor will find it and contact us.
was the son of Jean-Baptiste Moreau (1797–1855).
And was the older brother of
Hippolyte-François Moreau (1832-1927) and Auguste Moreau
Auguste had two sons, Louis Auguste Mathurin Moreau (1855-1919) and
Hippolyte Francois Moreau.
All of them were sculptors.
There were two named
Hippolyte-Francois. Their listings on internet auction houses seem to
get confused with one another's.
From 1878 Mathurin Moreau was mayor of the 19th
arrondissement in Paris. The Civil Marriage,
a painting by Henri Gervex that hangs in the Salle des Mariages of the
Mairie of that arrondissement, shows Moreau officiating at his son's
civil marriage ceremony, before a distinguished audience.
They are apparently NOT related to the famous French painter Gustave
Here's a link to a page about the Moreau Family of sculptors.
The nameplate below the clock (photo below) says
Par Math. Moreau (Hors-Concours)
(hors-concours means not done for a competition)
Inside the base, the clock is dated Paris 1900
From the surface of the table to the top of the ax is 32.5 inches (82.5
The bronze casting itself is 27.5 inches to top of the ax (69.85 cm)
About the sculpture
If you look closely, you can see the period in front of "Moreau"
that is part of Mathurin's style of signing.
Apparently the abbreviated first name was lost in the process of
placing the sculpture into the clock base.
The foundry mark: Fabrication Francaise
made in Paris France. This was a foundry in Paris which poured French
bronzes and iron work in the late 19th Century, early 20th Century. The
circular foundry mark bares this name at the top, an image of a
crucible set on flames in the centre, with the “Made in France” ringing
the bottom of the circle, The “Made in France” in English on the
foundry mark is due to the U.S trade law of 1891 that required all
imports to be marked to indicate the country of origin.
About the clock
There is a crystal, a flat, beveled glass door, surrounded with an
On the clock face is painted a garland of flowers and the words E.
On the back the clock is labeled Barrard & Vignon Horlogerie,
Rue Commines 7, Paris. It's stamped with the serial number 6954.
There's a date stamped on the back of the clock; it's difficult to
find because it is behind the chime.
The clock is stamped Paris 1900.
Our sculpture is slightly damaged. Bucheron's axhead has been
off and glued back.
Both candlelabras have cracks in the arms that hold the candles.
Though the damage probably occurred in shipping to the U.S. in the
we've fantasized a history for the clock
in which this damage occurred in Paris during one of the World Wars.
In the year 2000, as the clock chimed the turn of the millennium, we
toasted Bucheron's hundredth birthday.
If you know anything about this sculpture, we'd certainly be interested
in hearing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a link to a site
that shows many Mathurin Moreau sculptures and what they sold at at
This link is to a site called Tracadero that used to bring up a zinc
of the same statute (without the clock and candlelabras) at
a dealer called Antiques by Alternatives.
Neither site brings up the listing anymore; so the statue must have sold. You
can search Tracadero for Moreau and find other works by him or his son.
Here's what it says about this version
Century Regule Sculpture 'Bucheron' Mathurin Moreau
Sold For: $675
Zinc sculpture on verde green marble base 'Bucheron' (Woodcutter). Late
19th century, bears a small brass disc on the bottom back (France,
Paris Fabrication seal) and a title disc on the front set into a laurel
wreath. ('Hors Concourse', artist and title) . Early regule casting
from the original mold, not a reproduction. Very good condition, sharp
details, some loss of the original bronze patina. There is one small
crack in the marble of the base, but this is stable and does not
detract from the appearance or value. Well listed French artist,
Mathurin Moreau (1822-1912). Sculpture and base dimensions: 73 cm high
x 21 cm wide, 9 kgs (28.76 inches x 8.27 inches, 19.84 lbs) Will ship
from France. Please email for more pictures, as only 4 are allowed
Here's another example of the
identical to the one pictured above but on a red marble base, rather
than green. It was shown for sale estimated at a value of 200-300 euros.
There is another version of the sculpture we
found on the Internet showing
the same barechested woodsman with ax, but in a somewhat different
pose, chopping a tree trunk about 3 ft.
high, rather than striking a
wedge in a stump.
This sculpture is shown at Bonhams.com as having sold in 2015 for
$2,500.00 in San Francisco.
Here's the signature from that statue:
Note the period after Math -- circled in red.
I have also been contacted by somebody who reported having a version of
the statue with his cotton shirt still on. In the shirtless sculptures, the shirt is tucked into his waistband at
the back. It can be seen in this version pretty well. They did not send me a photograph of Bucheron wearing a shirt.
Here's a bio of Mathurin Moreau
(b Dijon, 18 Nov 1822; d Paris, 14 Feb 1912). French sculptor and
entrepreneur. His father, Jean-Baptiste Moreau (1797–1855), a sculptor
in Dijon, was best known for his restoration of the medieval tombs of
the Dukes of Burgundy, which had been damaged during the French
Revolution. In 1841 Mathurin entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris,
where he trained under Etienne-Jules Ramey and Augustin-Alexandre
Dumont. He made his Salon début in 1848 with Elegy (plaster, Dijon,
Mus. B.-A.). In 1852 his Flower Fairy , exhibited at the Salon in
plaster, was commissioned by the State in bronze (Dijon, Mus. B.-A.).
At the 1861 Salon, his marble Spinner was also bought by the State, for
the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris (version, Dijon. Mus. B.-A.). Poetic and
uncontentious works of this kind continued to earn Moreau medals and
prizes at subsequent Salons and international exhibitions. Among his
public works, he contributed decorative sculpture to the new Opéra and
to the rebuilt Hôtel de Ville in Paris, and also produced some
commemorative statues, such as that in Dijon to Sadi Carnot , President
of the French Republic (marble and bronze, 1899; Dijon, Place de la
République), which he executed in collaboration with Paul Gasq (b 1860;
However, it was probably the extent of his
entrepreneurial activities that won for Moreau an influential position
in public life. Having provided many sculpture models for commercial
exploitation by the Val d’Osne foundry, he became one of the
administrators of the Société du Val d’Osne. Together with his pupil
and namesake, Auguste Moreau (1834–1917), he continued, well into the
20th century, to supply models for the manufacture of decorative bronze
statuettes that were wholly untouched by more avant-garde endeavours.
From 1878 Moreau was mayor of the 19th arrondissement in Paris. The
Civil Marriage , a painting by Henri Gervex that hangs in the Salle des
Mariages of the Mairie of that arrondissement, shows Moreau officiating
at his son’s civil marriage ceremony, before a distinguished audience.
This version appears on a page for
auction house. The link doesn't lead to the image and there seems to be
no information on the site interencheres.com
The surface looks refinished (or maybe even painted). There's no patina.
The clock face is different from ours.