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French Automaton "Lady with Lyre" by Gustav Vichy

Lot Number: 
79
20" (51 cm.) Posed upon an ebony wooden base is the paper mache bust of a brown complexioned lady playing a lyre, brown glass eyes, leather eyelids, real lashes, painted black brows, slightly parted coral-shaded lips, row of teeth, black mohair wig, carton torso and brown paper mache hands with fingers realistically sculpted as though to play the gilt paper mache lyre which she holds, wearing burgundy velvet and silk jacket and cap with coin accents which are repeated as a bracelet. The mechanism is activated by original attached Vichy key and pull lever which causes her to nod and turn her head in a series of realistic and complicated nods, blinks her eyes, and plays the lyre with movements of both her elbow and her wrist in an elegant manner; all the while music plays. Condition: generally excellent, original finish, mechanism functions well. Comments: Gustav Vichy, Paris, circa 1900, from his series of parlor display automata, this example portraying an elegant woman from his Ethiopian or Moorish series, and clearly designed to appeal to the wealthy aristocrats who flocked to Paris from those far-away places in the late 19th century, eager to spend their wealth on luxurious objects. Value Points: rarely-found automaton, this example with its beautifully rendered five complicated movements and two tunes has appeal of beauty, lovely motion and beautiful music.
Realized Price: 
$10,500
Presale Estimate: 
8000/11,000