After Dalou’s death, the sculptor’s beneficiaries decided to have his work copied, in order to distribute it more widely. The posthumous copies of the Silenus mask are documented at the Sèvres factory between 1903 and 1942.

The different marks displayed on the copy given to the Petit Palais date is from 1930 or 1934 and the signature indicates that the creator was Émile-Maurice Roucheret. It was inspired by a preparatory study, conserved in the Petit Palais, for the bronze monument of the Triumph of Silenus, located since 1898 in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.

Dalou began to work on the theme of Silenus in 1878 and 1879 during his exile to London, and on his return from a trip to Belgium and Holland where he had discovered Flemish painting. The clay mask clearly shows the care taken to realistically portray the old man’s expression of joyful and unwitting drunkenness.

The copy given to the Palais is hollow at the back and has two fixation holes which suggests that the object has been used as a sundries tray or a flower holder. The clay mask is a welcome addition to the Petit Palais Dalou collection which includes few copied works.

C. C.-V.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

Access the Museums of the City of Paris collections portal
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.