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France Félix Maurice Charpentier
(1858-1924)
L’Improvisateur
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Biography
Few details of the life of Charpentier are published. He began to model figures from backyard clay at the age of seven, studied with the sculptor Armand in Avignon, and moved to Paris in 1877. He studied under Pierre Cavelier and Amédée Doublemard at the Ècole des Beaux-Arts in the 1880s and began to exhibit at the Paris Salon in either 1882 or 1884. His form was admired for both its force of expression and for its beauty and grace. He exhibited several allegorical figures at the Salon in the 1880s, including the Muse, an edition of which is in the Metz Collection.
--Indiana University Art Museum: Dr. Arthur R. Metz and His Collection


Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'ImprovisateurFélix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette - front)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette - back)
Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette - back right)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette - back left)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette - front)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (gilt bronze statuette - front)
Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette in store - back)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette - upper front)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (bronze statuette in store - front)

This statue is the inspiration for my stories Being and Be2ng, which contain some mild sexual references.
It depicts a youth or faun playing a crude flute that he has improvised from a tree branch. The black and white pictures have been cleaned up from faded antique sepia photos on the net, and depict the original marble and bronze versions. As you can see from the other images, when the statue was reproduced in miniature it suffered the same kind of pointless censorship that many 19th-century statuettes were subjected to, proving that even the French could sometimes be prudish - at least about front views!


Full size version, Bandol, France
Promenade, Bandol, France
A lifesize bronze copy of the statue in its original nude state stands on the promenade at Bandol in southern France, between the marketplace and the seafront, close to the Hotel de Ville and the Bar-Restaurant l’Amiral. I’ve scoured just about every public photo gallery on the internet in search of images and these are the best ones I could find. It’s on a low-rise pedestal, allowing passers-by to see it almost face to face. It has some pretty nasty discolouration and could do with some serious cleaning; on the other hand, its penis looks as if it’s been polished, possibly by people touching it for luck... or whatever. This has led one wag to label his photo “Golden Dick”. How very droll. I’m very happy to say that I have finally discovered a photo of the elusive back view in addition to all the front and side shots. It’s a little soft-focused and overexposed, but I’m just grateful to have it until such time as a better version turns up.

Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France, night)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)Félix Maurice Charpentier - L'Improvisateur (lifesize bronze, Bandol, France)

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