« Cat Playing » by Affortunato Gori              & Achille Fidi

A singular and extremely rare small sculpture of a cat playing with a thread of wool by Italian artists Affortunato Gori and Achille Fidi

A singular and extremely rare small sculpture of a cat playing with a thread of wool by Italian artists Affortunato Gori and Achille Fidi.

This particularly cheerful animal sculpture is a unique work because it is signed by two renowned Italian artists.

Affortunato Gori 

Affortunato Gori was an Italian sculptor active from 1895 to 1925, the year he died. Originally from Florence, he studied sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti under Augustus Rivalta. Like many Italian artists, Gory emigrated to Paris at the beginning of the 20th century to practice his art. He changed his name from Fortunato Gori to Affortunato Gori and began to exhibit at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1902 with a bronze and marble bust of a woman. His graceful female sculptures combine bronze and marble, alabaster or ivory materials.He continued to present his works there until 1923.

Achille Fidi

Our sculpture bears the signature « A. Fidi ». Achille Fidi was a sculptor of Italian origin who lived in Asnières. Many of the period documents mentioning him relate to an event that made him infamous: the « Rodin forgery » affair of 1919. Achille Fidi – mentioned as being a « talented statuary » aged fifty-eight at the time of the events – was indeed implicated, arrested and then charged with « forgery and counterfeiting in artistic matters » and « affixing a false name or signature to works of art » as well as for fraud. The Minister of Fine Arts had warned the curator of the Rodin Museum, Mr Bénédite, that dubious reproductions were in circulation. It was learned that Mr. Jacques Bouyon de Chalus – known as Comte de Chalus – who was the husband of the widow of Rodin’s friend and oculist, was thus justifying the origin of the bronzes he was selling. However, a search of the Count’s house revealed twenty-four new subjects, all signed and dedicated. He was arrested and denounced Achille Fidi who, for his part, declared that the bronzes came from the workshops of the Montagutelli brothers, two art founders. The fake masterpieces must have been successful because they were sold to dealers and connoisseurs such as Bernheim, Grumbach and Pecquement. The Count of Chelus, Achille Fidi and one of the two Montagutelli brothers then shared the proceeds. In his defence, Achille Fidi mentioned his five young children, explaining that poverty threatened his family. Several other people were charged with forgery and falsification of art, and with forging names and signatures on works of art. This was the case of Paul Gallimard, a famous collector and bibliophile whose son founded the publishing house of the same name, who was also convicted of handling stolen goods in this case. The case was widely reported in the press, particularly because it involved Amélie Diéterle, Paul Gallimard’s mistress, a famous actress who was the muse of many writers and artists such as Stéphane Mallarmé, Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

  • Dimensions : 22,5 x 27,5 x 21,5 cm
  • White Carrara marble sculpture.
  • Circa 1900
  • PANZETTA, A. Nuovo Dizionario degli Scultori Italiani dell’Ottocento e del primo Novecento. 3e éd. Italy : Umberto Allemandi & C., 2003. Vol.1. p. 441.
  • « La multiplication des Rodins : La production était si active qu’un prix-courant s’était établi ! ».1919. Le Matin (Paris), 10 mai, p. 1.
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