We have always considered and collected these commercial masks and helmets as industries tribal art. Examples can be elegant in their simplicity or bazaar and complex. They are always unique, suprising and filled with personality.
Mannequin Attributed to Francois-Pierre Guillois, Late 18th Century
There hasn't been much information regarding this particular type of lay figure, indeed these are exceptionally rare, until fairly recently since the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and The Musée Bourdelle in Paris held exhibitions last year. These are understood to be created by the French artist François-Pierre Guillois and date from the late 18th century. To date there are only a hand full of examples that are known to exist. This example stands at 67" tall. The mannequin is made of wood of various species including oak, beech and burr walnut. It's built around a clever skeleton of wood peg and ball joints and metal fasteners which can be posed in a multitude of ways. The fingers of the hands are made of brass and articulated. The toes are schematically by a single phalanx. It also includes the original floor Stand for posing. The condition and finish is amazing. Also included is the original hand painted papier mâché head. There is a wonderful book on the subject of these rare models called "Silent Partners" by Jane Munro, "The Mannequin, or Lay Figure, was a ubiquitous presence in artists' studios from at least the Renaissance, but its use was rarely explicitly acknowledged in paintings, drawings or sculpture until the 19th century. Indeed, it comes as a surprise to realize that many of the greatest artists used models of this kind from Michelangelo and Titian to Poussin, Gainsborough, Degas, Courbet, The Pre-Raphaelites and Cezanne." It makes you wonder what the full history of this example could be. We will include a copy of this book with the mannequin.... 67" tall... $14000