Pair of Art Nouveau Vases with Chimney Swallows, Window Swallows, Reeds, and Fleur de Lys
This pair of unique Art Nouveau vases, created circa 1900, are the work of the Belgian artist Jean-Baptiste Sloodts (1843 – ?). Each vase is a stunning lost-wax casting in bronze, featuring a double patina in light and dark brown. The first vase showcases the finesse of reeds overhung by two Chimney Swallows, while the second vase is adorned with Fleur de Lys and two Window Swallows. Both Swallows and Fleur de Lys are recurring motifs in Belgian art, embodying a sense of freedom, grace, and nobility, while the reeds represent resilience and adaptability.
These vases are signed “JBte Sloodts”, representing the artist’s lifelong work at the foundry “La Compagnie des Bronzes” in Brussels. Starting as a second-class craftsman in 1893, Sloodts’ talents and dedication propelled him to the position of first-class foundryman by 1907. His distinction was the ability to cast and sign his own works, a rarity among foundrymen of his time.
Almost all of Jean-Baptiste Sloodts’ works are unique and in lost-wax casting. The precision, quality of casting, and the artistry of the patina make Sloodts one of the most sought-after foundrymen of the early twentieth century. Works signed by his hand are incredibly rare to find, especially in good condition.
Sloodts was renowned for his “nouvelle esthétique” style, which later evolved into the “Art Nouveau” style, making him a precursor of this trend.
The vases measure approximately 83.5 cm and 83 cm in height, with bases of 18 x 18 cm and 18.5 x 18.5 cm respectively. They were produced at La Compagnie des Bronzes de Bruxelles, as evidenced by the literature: ENGELEN, C. MARX, M. Compagnie des Bronzes. Brussel: Algemeen Rijksarchief en Rijksarchief in de Provincien, 2002. p. 352-357. The first vase is represented on page 354.
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