A Guide to Buying French Sculpture

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Since you are looking for French Antique Sculptures, you should first get acquainted with the various styles available. There have been quite a few styles periods with different attributes specific to the styles prevalent during the time. Here is a list of the different styles:
  1. Louis XIII (1590–1660)
  2. Louis XIV (1660–1715)
  3. Régence (1715–1730)
  4. Louis XV (1730–1770)
  5. Louis XVI (1770–1789)
  6.  Directoire (1789–1805)
  7. Empire (1805–1815)
  8. Restoration (1815–1830)
  9. Louis Philippe (1830–1850)
  10. Napoleon III (Second Empire) (1848–1880
  11. Art Nouveau
  12. Art Deco
To buy antiques, there are various sources available. 
1.      Antique Dealers
2.      Online Shops
3.      Auctions 
4.      Antique Fairs
5.      Private Sales
To ensure that your pieces are genuine always try go to a source that is trustworthy. Members of certain associations like the Antique Dealers association are a genuine source for quality antiques.
Always try to get your hands on a sculpture that is original and handcrafted by a known artist himself or under his supervision. The antique sculptures usually carry the maker’s marks or stamps. These are a testament to the authenticity of the piece.
Knowing a bit about the different styles will help you ascertain a general price range of the pieces. This is however not easy. You will have to spend time on research. 
A good visual inspection is also important. Assessing the form, overall condition, material, surface, inscriptions etc. can give you a good hint of the value of the piece. You should also check for restorations if any as this has some impact on the value of the piece.
There is nothing like knowing the history of what you plan to buy. It is always good to find out as much as possible about an item and see if provenance is available.
A wonderful example of a French antique carving is this a wonderful early 16th century carved oak sculpture of two prophets. This well carved and appealing retable sculpture depicts two prophets standing, one holding a book and staff, the other holding a broom, both wearing long folding tunics and have long flowing beards and expressional faces.
Northern France. circa 1520. Dimensions: height: 13.5 inches (34.3 cms), width: 10 inches (25.4 cms)

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