Marble statue signed by H. Levasseur

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I often discover rare and impressive treasures in my explorations. One of them is a life-size marble statue signed by Henri Louis Levasseur, a French sculptor best known for his Art Nouveau depictions of historic and mythological figures. His sculptures are composed in a realistic manner, often including painstakingly detailed, draped fabrics that appear to be captured mid-movement.

Born on April 16, 1853 in Paris, France, Levasseur went on to study with Auguste Dumont, Gabriel Jules Thomas, and E. Planche. He won many awards during his lifetime, at both the Salon des Artistes Français and the Art Exposition in Paris. Today, Levasseur’s works are in the collections of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, the Grohmann Museum at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and the Columbia Museum of Art at the University of South Carolina, among others. He died in 1934 in Paris, France.

Of course, Levasseur’s valuable works can still be found in private collections, but also, more recently, in an abandoned factory in Bucharest, where a plaster workshop used to operate almost 30 years ago. Here, we found the life-size statue that is the subject of this article. Unfortunately, it was vandalized. Her head and hands are missing, and on the marble surface several visitors felt the need to leave messages for the woman who was created to sit and read from a book as long as the durability of the material would allow.

Photo: Alex Iacob

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