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SOLD Antique 19th Century Large Bronze Sculpture Bust of Napoleon By R. Colombo 1885


SOLD Authentic antique, late 19th Century, large Bronze sculpture Bust of Napoleon - Signed R. Colombo 1885 – depicting the emperor bearing a stern and determined expression, wearing his familiar military garb and distinguishing bicorne hat. An imperial eagle is perched at the front of the bust clutching a double ended torch, a classic symbol of honor and courage, with the title plaque below below engraved, "NAPOLEON 1-er 1812 par COLOMBO." The Sculpture is signed on Napoleon's right shoulder, "P. Colombo, dated 1885”. Stamped on the back (on the edge of his uniform) with miniature writing “FRANCE”.

CONDITION: In excellent condition, showing the age and usage, extremely well modeled and superbly executed with stunning details. Surface of the bronze hightailed with gilding, with its natural warm brown patina.

Due to the fact that the market is flooded by reproductions of Colombo Napoleon Bronze busts, some of them very good quality reproductions, which for inexperienced collectors look the same as authentic objects, we had left the sculpture in the original condition as was acquired we did not clean the bronze or lubricate it, and left it uncleaned as evidence of its authenticity. We would like to inform our clients that this is a 100% authentic sculpture and not a reproduction, and is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

MEASUREMENTS approximately:

Height: 43.8 cm (17 1/4 inches)

Width: 30 cm (11.81 inches)

Deep: 24 cm (9.45 inches)

WEIGHT: 13.61 kg (30 lbs.)

Renzo Colombo (Italian 1856-1885) was born near Milan, he studied at the Brera Academy of Fine Art. After a period working in Rome, he returned to his home town of Gallarate where he executed busts, medals and monuments, his favorite themes were historical figures. In 1875 he exhibited in Milan a bust of Francesco Ferrucci. In 1877 he moved to Florence where he was a pupil of Giovanni Dupre, and realizes the sketch of a religious theme group, Il Ritorno da Golgotha, for the tomb of the family to the cemetery Martegani Gallarate, producing his Tasso Morente in 1878, partially inspired by the Napoleon by Vicenza Vela. Having worked in Genoa and Marsiglia, he was appointed artistic director of the Musee Grevin in Paris in 1884 and began exhibiting at the Salon. His bust of Napoleon was presented there in 1885. He died the following year at Fougeres. He is buried in the Cemetery of Batignolles, Paris.

Several of his works are now part of the collections of the Museo della Società per gli Studi Patri in Gallarate, where a street bears his name.

Sale results:

  • Sotheby’s, 20 April 2007, Sale N08305, lot 271, $ 5400 USD, 23” H
  • Christies, Sale 9519, 27 Nov 2002, lot 535 4700 GBP, 21 5/8” H
  • Sotheby’s, 22 April 2010, Sale N08627, lot 82, $ 9375 USD, 22” H
  • Sotheby’s, 1 April 2010, Sale N08623, lot 283, $ 7500 USD, 22” H
  • Christies, Sale 8369, 31 May 2000, lot 171 $ 9,400 USD, 21” H
  • Sotheby’s, 28-29 November 2006, Sale N08233, lot 53, $ 4800 USD, 22” H (Pinédo cast)
  • Sotheby’s, 28-29 November 2006, Sale N08233, lot 52, $ 5100 USD, 23” H (Bronze Garanti Au Titre cast)
  • Christies, Sale 1099, 10-11 July 2002, lot 257, $ 4780 USD, 21 1/2” H
  • Christies, Sale 2473, 19-20 October 2011, lot 12, $ 5250 USD, 21 5/8” H (Bronze Garanti Au Titre cast)
  • Sotheby’s, Sale L03503, lot 298, 11,400 GBP, 22” H (Pinédo cast)


  • Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, 1994, p. 220
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