Philippe-Gérard Chabert, "La Pendule 'au Nègre'", exhibition catalogue, April-June 1978, Musée de l'Hôtel Sandelin, Saint-Omer, 1978, no. 15, featuring a clock of the same model signed on the dial Deverberie à Paris rue Barbete, from the collection of comte Charles-André Colonna Walewski. Marie-Christine Delacroix, "Les Pendules au Nègre", in "L'Estampille", no. 100, August 1978, pp. 6-7, with reference to the latter clock signed on the dial Deverberie à Paris rue Barbete. Winthrop Edey, "French Clocks in North American Collections", 1982, p. 94, illustrating a very similar clock, signed on the dial Ridel à Paris, of identical overall form but with a ring of paste brilliants around the dial bezel, around their headdresses, anklets and the huntresses' arm bands, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (gift of the estate of James Hazen Hyde, 1959). Léon de Groër, "Decorative Arts in Europe, 1790-1850", 1986, p. 289, pl. 551, illustrating the latter clock in the Metropolitan Museum. Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, "Vergoldete Bronzen", 1986, p. 381, pl. 5.15.29, illustrating a pen and ink design by Deverberie or by a member of his firm (now in the Cabinet d'Estampes in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) for a clock of this exact model which is inscribed across the dial No 3 De Verberie/Du trois pluvios an Sept (dating from the Republican year 2nd September 1798-22nd September 1799). J. Ramon Colon De Carvajal, "Catalogo De Relojes Del Patrimonio Nacional", 1987, p. 120, pl. 100, illustrating an almost identical clock, simply signed on the dial à Paris, in the Spanish Royal Collection. Elke Niehüser, "Pendule au Bon Sauvage, Katalog zu gleichnamigen Ausstellung im Musée Bellevue, Collection M. et Mme. François Duesberg", 1993, with reference to another almost identical clock in the Musée François Duesberg at Mons in Belgium. Musée François Duesberg: Arts Décoratifs (1775-1825), circa 1975, p. 55, illustrating the latter clock in the Musée François Duesberg, signed on the dial Deverberie à Paris. Tardy, "Les Plus Belles Pendules Françaises", 1994, p. 245, illustrating a very similar clock with no name on the dial and in place of the waterfall below the dial the area is cut away, noted as from the J. B. Diette collection. And on the same page a clock of comparable design by Deverberie except with the figures of Cupid and Psyche in place of the two native American figures. Jean-Dominique Augarde, "Les Ouvriers du Temps", 1996, p. 158, pl. 125, illustrating a very similar clock signed on the dial De Verberie et C.gnie à Paris but in place of the waterfall below the dial the area is cut away to reveal a dual heart shaped pendulum bob; in addition, the young American Indian huntress is holding a pineapple while the frieze portrays a flaming torch flanked by flowering swags and a pair of trees. Pierre Kjellberg, "La Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle", 1997, p. 356, pl. B, illustrating the same clock as that in Augarde and pp. 310-311 and p. 357, pl. C, illustrating respectively a detail and a complete clock of almost identical design with the figures wearing coral earrings, signed on the dial Deverberie à Paris. Elke Niehüser, "Die Französische Bronzeuhr", 1997, p. 155, colour pl. 252, illustrating a clock of the same model signed on the dial Lépine Place des Victoire, featuring a gilt bronze rock below the dial scattered with patinated bronze seaweed. And p. 237, pl. 797, illustrating a clock of the same model. Charlotte Vignon, "Deverberie & Cie: Drawings, Models, and Works in Bronze", in "Cleveland Studies in the History of Art", vol. 8, 2003, p. 173, pl. 1.24 illustrating an engraving of a clock of the same model as featured in the sale catalogue of the Deverberie Company factory, published circa 1800, inscribed on the engraving as measuringHauteur 10 Pce. Largeur 8 Pce. Profondeur 5 Pce ½, now in the Bibliothèque Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA), Paris and described by Vignon as 'Clock with a Native American couple embracing'. And pp. 185-186, listing and describing other clocks of the same model. Clare Vincent, Jan Hendrik Leopold and Elizabeth Sullivan, "European Clocks and Watches in the Metropolitan Museum of Art", 2015, pp. 226-231, illustrating and discussing a clock of the same model, signed on the dial Ridel à Paris, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
A highly important and rare Directoire gilt and patinated bronze pendule 'à l'Indien et l'Indienne Enlacé' of fourteen day duration by Jean-Simon Deverberie, signed on the white enamel dial It ft de Verberie Rue Barbette à Paria, the dial with Arabic numerals and a very fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes, the hour hand with a sunburst pointer. The movement with anchor escapement, silk thread suspension, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel.
The magnificent case by Deverberie with dial drum supported on a patinated bronze rock scattered with exotic gilt flower heads and a waterfall directly below the dial. Standing on the rock to the left of the dial is a patinated bronze figure of a young American Indian hunter wearing a gilt feathered skirt and plumed headdress, with a quiver of arrows on his back and holding a bow in his left hand and arrow in the right as he inclines towards the right to embrace and kiss the beautiful American Indian huntress who, standing on the right of the clock, reclines backward across the top of the dial and looks upward to receive a kiss while placing her left hand above her lover's head and holding a gourd and leaf in her right hand, she like her lover wears a feathered skirt, a matching plumed headdress and gilt Roman-style sandals as well as a double row of beads around her neck in addition to arm and wrist bands, both figures have white enamel eyes with blue pupils and pearl drop-earrings.
The rock-like plinth upon a stepped rectangular base with rounded ends decorated with beaded borders and mounted at the front by a rectangular frieze panel depicting a desert landscape with palm trees with the figure of the winged Cupid with his bow and arrow to the right overlooking four putti who are fishing, hunting and gardening, the whole supported on six toupie feet
Paris, date circa 1799
Height 55 cm, length 48 cm, depth 14 cm.
This magnificent pendule à l'Indien et l'Indienne Enlacé, portraying a handsome American Indian couple in deep embrace is an exceptional piece. Made by the esteemed Parisian bronzier Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824), its importance can be appreciated on many different levels. Firstly, it is of supreme quality and aesthetic beauty. At the same time it is also very rare, for although other pendules à l'Indien et l'Indienne Enlacé exist, as here only the very best are signed on the dial with Deverberie's name, implying that he not only made the case but he was also the maker of the clock's movement. Each of the known clocks of this model featuring Deverberie's name on the dial have slight variations in the signature style. Here his address is written as rue Barbete, on another it is spelled rue Barbette, while on another there is no address but simply the words 'à Paris'. In this instance he proudly announces, in abbreviated form, that he invented (It) and also made (ft or fecit) the clock.
Deverberie's clock reflects as fascinating period in history when, during the latter part of the eighteenth century, European society was questioning the morality and standards of its own civilisation in relation to the seeming innocence and untouched nature of those that lived in faraway exotic lands. This gave rise to the notion of le bon sauvage or noble savage, of which Deverberie was one of, if not, the first bronzier to create a series of clock cases illustrating this theme. Of them this present model is one of his most famous. It is also the most emotive and erotic.
As noted other models of this wonderful clock are known, counting among them several examples in highly prestigious collections. One of them, signed on the dial 'Ridel à Paris' is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York; another in the Spanish Royal Collection is merely signed 'Paris' on the dial while a third in the Musée François Duesberg at Mons in Brussels is signed on the dial 'Deverberie à Paris'. Added to them is another almost identical clock without any signature on the dial that was formerly in the J. B. Diette collection (illustrated in Tardy, op. cit) as well as another signed on the dial 'Deverberie à Paris rue Barbete. No 483', which was included in the 'La Pendule 'au Nègre', exhibition held at the Musée de l'Hôtel Sandelin, Saint-Omer in 1978 and is in the collection of comte Charles-André Colonna Walewski, one of the Emperor Napoleon's direct descendants. Another clock of the same model, signed on the dial 'Deverberie et Cie Invenit Fecit à Paris' was sold at Hôtel Drouot, Montaigne on 26th March 1992, lot 75 while a further permutation of his dial signature 'De Verberie et C.gnie à Paris' features on yet another almost identical clock (illustrated in Augarde, op. cit). In addition to the clock in the Metropolitan Museum, housing a movement by Laurent Ridel (active 1789) and another in the Spanish Collection, simply signed à Paris, further examples include one signed on the dial 'Robinot à Paris' (sold at Hôtel George V, Paris, 29th June 1994, lot 26) and another housing a movement by the royal clockmaker Jean Antoine Lépine, signed Lépine Place des Victoire (illustrated in Niehüser, 1997, op. cit, p. 155).
The original pen and wash drawing for Jean-Simon Deverberie's pendule à l'Indien et l'Indienne Enlacé is included in an album of his clock designs (housed in the Cabinet des Estampes in the Bibliothèque National, Paris) which is signed and inscribed No 3 De Verberie/Du trois pluvios an Sept (corresponding to the period in the Revolutionary French calendar, between 2nd September 1798 and 22nd September 1799). An engraving of it also appears in one of the Deverberie firm's sale catalogues of circa 1800, now housed in the Bibliothèque INHA, Paris. Interesting the latter sale catalogue engraving corresponds almost exactly to the present clock, which implies that it was one of his earliest examples. Although all of the above mentioned clocks follow the same basic design, each has a slight variation, dependant on the desires of each customer. For instance, the clock in the Metropolitan Museum is decorated with paste brilliants around the headdresses, dial bezel and elsewhere and also features a different frieze upon the base. Likewise, it and other examples lack the waterfall, while another features black patinated bronze seaweed instead of gilt flower heads on a gilt rather than patinated bronze rock (illustrated in Niehüser, 1997, op. cit, p. 155).
Deverberie's clock is one of a number of ingenious designs on the theme of le bon sauvage; his other most famous ones being l'Amèrique portraying a dark skinned beauty with an alligator and palm tree beside her and its companion l'Afrique, featuring an African huntress accompanied by a panther and turtle. Deverberie along with Jean-André Reiche (1752-1817) was the most important maker of these clock cases, which in Deverberie's case helped establish his repute. The first of his clock cases along this theme was La Négress, which was delivered by Furet and Gaudon to King Louis XVI's wife, Marie-Antoinette in 1784.
As noted the subject of le bon sauvage reflected the spirit of the eighteenth century Enlightenment, culminating in the abolition of slavery in 1793. This concept was aired by Rousseau, whose 'Discourse on the Origin of Inequality', 1754 proposed that beauty and innocence of nature was extended from plants and trees. In 1767 the French explorer Bougainville arrived in Tahiti followed by Captain Cook in 1769. They returned with two of the islanders, Aotourous and Omai. The latter was taken to London where he was received by King George III and was painted by the celebrated portraitist Sir Joshua Reynolds. After hearing of the happy and harmonious life of the South Sea islanders, soon the brightest wits of Paris and London began to question their own corrupt European society in relation to the innocence of the native islanders. The notion of le bon sauvage also inspired some fine literary works such as Paul et Virginie (1787) by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre and Atala (1801) by Vicomte de Chateaubriand, which were the subject of some superb clock cases and like Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) or Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1724) encapsulated Europe's fascination with the exotic.
While the theme of the noble savage gained momentum during the end of the eighteenth century and continued during the early years of the next, Europeans had already begun portraying likenesses of the natives of America back in the sixteenth century, even though some of the representations were not entirely accurate. One of the earliest examples appeared on a carved choir screen dating from circa 1510, made for the chapel of the Normandy Château de Gaillon, which included two male figures wearing feathered skirts and headdresses. Likewise, a slightly earlier German engraving known as 'The First representation of the People of the New World', from Amerigo Vespucci, published in 1505, portrays the Tupinamba people of Brazil dressed in feathered headdresses and skirts. Bearded men carried bows and a spear while a group of women and children are seen feasting on parts of an unfortunate Portuguese traveller who is being roasted on an open fire. Not all who encountered the Tupinambas suffered the same fate. For instance, the German explorer Hans Staden, who was captured by them in 1557, managed to survive and having returned to Europe, he published an illustrated account of his adventures, which provided European society with a wealth of information about these people. At about the same time as Staden's capture, two Frenchmen André Thevet and Jean de Léry, who had been involved with the short lived French colony near present day Rio de Janeiro, also reported their experiences of the New World in separate publications.
Likewise, during his voyages to America during the 1580s, the English artist John White made records of the Algonquians, who lived along the North Carolina coast and Roanoke Island. From the 1590s and based on White's watercolours, Theodore de Bry of Frankfurt began publishing a series of engravings, which like the gathering number of written publications helped inform European society of this distant civilisation. Alongside them, Europeans also began featuring personifications of the Four Continents, namely America, Africa, Asia and Europe (Australia not having yet been discovered). At first visual representations of the Four Continents appeared as engravings or in paintings but in time they inspired other arts, from porcelain, silver and clock cases. America was presented in the graphic arts as an Indian princess, sometimes wearing a crown or headdress, bejewelled anklets and feathered skirts and occasionally with a bow and arrows. Sometimes accompanied by an alligator, she was eventually and more generally represented as a beautiful dark skinned figure, with facial features that appear more African than American Indian. In contrast, Deverberie's representation of her on his pendules l'Amèrique and here as l'Indienne, she is a dark skinned beauty with more overtly Western or European facial features but in keeping with other representations of American Indians, both she and her lover are dressed in exquisitely defined feathered skirts and matching headdresses.
While Deverberie may have relied upon earlier representations of native Americans, the inspiration for their pose was most probably based on a well-known sculpture Le Baiser Donné by Jean-Antoine Houdon, of which he executed a number of versions in varying sizes and materials during the late 1770s. Interestingly Houdon's sculpture portraying the head and shoulders of a couple in a similar entwined embrace compared closely a famous Roman sculpture of Cupid and Psyche, which he would have seen as a student in Rome. It is perhaps therefore no surprise that with this classical inspiration, Deverberie also transposed the figures of his own two American Indians with those of Cupid and Psyche who, wearing classical robes but appearing in exactly the same poses as here, adorn another of his clock cases. One example of the latter is in the Charles-André Colona Walewski collection while another is illustrated in Kjellberg (op. cit, p. 356, pl. A); both show the mythological lovers in knee length diaphanous attire while in a further version, illustrated in Tardy op. cit, their passion is such that they are in a state of almost complete undress.
Having been established at rue Barbette (also spelled Barbet and Barbete), the bronze manufacturing business of Deverberie & Compagnie was later based at rue des Fossés du Temple. Although the exact date of when Deverberie was received as a Parisian maître bronzier, is unrecorded, it is known that he was working as a caster in 1788 and that he married Marie Louise Verron but had no children. An article by Charlotte Vignon, a curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art, notes that he may have been the same Deverberie who specialised as a watchcase maker and that after the abolition of the guilds in 1791, he opened a bronze casting and clock factory with Jean George Hertzog. The lifting of the guild regulations during the French Revolution allowed casters, who during the ancient règime were strictly limited to working in bronze, to now develop their own factories. Deverberie was one such man who took advantage of this freedom so that now all stages of the bronze making process, from casting, gilding, assembly and retail could occur in one workshop.
Deverberie et Cie made a range of luxury bronze objects from chenets and fire grates to candelabra and chandeliers, however clock cases were the firm's speciality. A large variety of clockmakers supplied the movements including Lemoine from rue St Martin, Marc Sandoz working in rue Grenetta, Jacques Nicolas Pierre Dubuc (Dubucq) as well as Jean Baptiste Charles Dubuc (Dubucq) and Matthieu and Marc Croutte from St. Nicolas, near Dieppe. Sometimes Deverberie contracted part of the gilding to Jean Claude Herouard, Jean-Jacques Dubois and others and also bought in glass globe covers for his clock cases from the famous glass blower Jean-Baptiste Binet as well as marble from Gilles l'ainé. In contrast to a number of other major bronziers, Deverberie did not directly supply the Garde-Meuble though he may have done so through as intermediary. Rather he tended to supply private clientele and also sold his cases to the Imperial clockmakers Henri Lepaute and Jean Antoine Lépine as well as Chopin (a pupil of Robert Robin), Folin, and Armingaud l'aîné. He also sold cases elsewhere in Europe, hence one has the name of Christophe Noseda à Marsailles while others were sent to Brest, Moscow and for the Turkish export market. Ever keen to exhibit his bronzes throughout Europe, in 1802 Deverberie sent goods worth 40,000 francs to the Leipzig fair. Despite it being a financial disaster due to circumstances beyond his control, the following year his company including its stock, storehouses and tools etc. was valued at 104,000 francs, thus demonstrating the importance and success of his business.