Lamp representing the nymph Daphne being transformed into a tree

Daphné the beautifull nymph by Isidore de Rudder

The polychrome and gilt bronze lamp in the Art Nouveau style represents the nymph Daphne being transformed into a tree. The artist has chosen to represent this allegory in the form of a lamp, which converts electricity into light.


In Greek mythology, more specifically in the Metamorphoses of Ovid :  To take revenge on Apollo, who mocked him, Cupid, god of Love, simultaneously unleashes two arrows, one in gold, on the god himself, which makes him madly in love with the beautiful Daphne, the other in lead, on the nymph, which inspires the disgust of love in him. Then, as Apollo pursues her, she, exhausted, asks her father, the river god Penea, to help her : he transforms his daughter into a tree. Apollo, who is still in love with her, then makes her his tree, and dedicates it to triumphs, songs and poems.

The lamp sculpture is signed « Is De Rudder » standing for Isidore De Rudder and « H Luppens & Cie Editeurs » standing for the family foundry « H. Luppens » from Brussels.

Isidore De Rudder was born in Brussels in 1855 into a family of art lovers. His father owns a workshop of plaster sculpture.

From 1869 to 1880, Isidore was enrolled at the Brussels Academy. He exhibited his first sculpture « Tête d’Enfant » at the Ghent Salon in 1880. He then exhibited in the 1881 Salon with « Feue Madame L. » and in the Union des Arts circle in 1882 with « Le Petit Pêcheur ». The same year he finished 2nd at the Prix de Rome, which allowed him to travel to various European countries such as Germany, England and France.

He will participate in many other shows:

    •  Union des Arts 1883.
    •  Antwerp and Brussels 1883 exhibition with « The Truth and the Nest » (now in the Antwerp Museum.
    • Brussels 1893 exhibition with « Man with Swans ».
    • Antwerp World Fair in 1894.

Isidore creates various works included in house facades or wins competitions for monuments:

    • « Allegory of Tragedy » in 1887 for the façade of the Flemish Theatre in Brussels.
    • The « monument for J.F. Willems » in Ghent in 1899.
    • « Jan van Coudenberghe » in 1888 for the Brussels City Hall.
    • The « Stork and Fish » fountain for the Brussels Botanical Garden in 1894.
    •  « Art » in 1904 for the Maison Communale de Saint-Gilles.
    • The « Rogier Funeral Monument » at the Saint-Josse-ten-Noode cemetery in 1888.
    • Monument « Recognition of Belgium to France » at the Place de l’Alma in Paris in 1923.
    • The « War Memorial » at the Ixelles cemetery in 1923.

Isidore was a professor at the Brussels Academy from 1911 to 1915 and from 1919 to 1925.

There is a marble sculpture « The Nest » which is currently exhibited in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. There is also a plaster sculpture of « L’Education morale » at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.

Isidore was a very versatile and gifted artist, besides plaster, bronze and marble, he also worked in silver (at Wolfers), ivory, porcelain, ceramics (at Boch), sandstone (at Guérin), tin, biscuit and ivory. Throughout his career, he sculpted genre scenes, portraits and busts in the Art-Nouveau and later Art-Deco style.

This bronze lamp sculpture from the Art-Nouveau period is a unique work of art by the artist.

Luppens H. Foundry & Cie is an art bronze foundry founded in 1850 in Brussels, it was located at Eikstraat 20 in Brussels. In 1875, the foundry became larger and opened at a new address Middenlaan 46-48 (which became Anspach Boulevard in 1880). Then, in 1889, the foundry obtained the ultimate award for an artistic bronze foundry: the Gold Medal at the 1889 Paris Salon. Many high quality bronze sculptures have been made by this foundry and are currently on display in Belgian museums.

For example : « Het Zotte Lied » by Jef Lambeaux, which is kept at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels.

Height : 90 cm.

Width: 17,5 cm.

Depth: 18 cm.

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