A Very Finely Carved Italian 19th Century Carrara Marble Figure of "Carmen" by Professore Fortunato Galli (d. 1918), Florence, depicting the beautiful Gypsy Seductress in George Bizet's beloved Opera "Carmen", raised on an ornately carved Verde d'Alps marble pedestal with grapes and vine leaves. Signed: Prof. F. Galli - Galerie P. Barzanti/Florence. Circa: 1880.
Sculpture Height: 49 3/4 inches (126.5 cm)
Pedestal Height: 34 inches (86.4 cm)
Overall Height: 83 3/4 inches (212.7 cm)
The 1830 four-acts story is set in Seville, Spain, after the novella by Prosper Mérimée, the opera Carmen was first performed in Paris on March 3rd 1875. Carmen tells the tragic and melodramatic story of the eponymous Gypsy, who seduces naive soldier Don José, only to betray him with the charismatic matador Escamillo. Ironically, the tragedy in the opera parallels the tragedy of Bizet's own life. Deeply depressed, the gifted musician died at a mere 36 years of age, the same year as the opera's first coolly-received performance. Today, however, Carmen is one of the most frequently performed operas.
Born in Livorno, Professore Fortunato Galli (d.1918) spent most of his working life in Florence, where much of his output was religious sculpture for many of the major Tuscan churches, including his principal work, the statue of Pope Gregory VII for the Duomo in Florence. His decorative, commercial works concentrated on popular subjects and themes of the day, such as Mignon, the heroine of Ambroise Thomas's 1866 opera and the subject of the present work, Carmen.
Past Sales of Works by Professore Fortunato Galli
An identical marble sculpture of Carmen, also by Fortunato Galli, was sold at Christie's New York 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Works of Art and Ceramics, on 20 April 2006, Sale 1650, Lot 105 for $72,000 - Click here to view
A near life-size Italian white marble figure of a Sea Nymph, also by Professore Fortunato Galli, Florence, Late 19th Century was sold at Christie's New York 1500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe Including Oriental Carpets, on 18-19 April 2012, Sale 2545, Lot 488 for $122,500 - Click here to view