An extremely important and rare French Art Nouveau gilt-bronze patinated sculpture "La Mer" (The Sea) by, François-Raoul Larche with mermaids emerging from the sea holding aloft three oyster shells, surmounted by a nude maiden emerging from the sea. The sculpture is signed, "R. Larche" further signed, "Siot. Fonduers.Paris" and numbered "H440".
height: 29.75 in. x width: 32.5 in. x depth: 13 in.
"Art ét Decoration" July - December 1897, Vol. II, pg. 84
"Art Nouveau Sculpture" by, Alastair Duncan, ©1978, pg. 36
"Les bronze de XIXème, dictionnaire des sculpteurs" by, Pierre Kjelberg, ©1994, pg. 412
"Etains 1900, 200 Sculptuers de la Belle Époque" by, Philippe Dahhan, ©2000, pg. 229 and on the cover
A similar example is in the permanent collection of the Hessischen Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany
François-Raoul Larche was a French Art Nouveau sculptor who was one of several artists inspired by the dancer Loie Fuller; one of his best-known sculptural bronze lamp depicts Loie Fuller dancing with part of her drapery billowing above and behind her head like a flame. However his smaller pieces - humidors, lamps, goblets, ashtrays, vases and center pieces were recreated in pewter and bronze by Siot-Decauville. These sculptures included a wide range of subjects from mythological figures, religious figures, and peasant girls.