This is a rare and important work by an important French sculptor of the 20th century.
Ferdinand Parpan was born in Alfortville, France on July 8, 1902. He was a sculptor of religious subjects, groups, figures, and animals. While a young child, he learned to sculpt from his father, a professional artist. Parpan planned to study at the École des Beaux-Arts, but due to World War I he worked for six years as an apprentice to an engraver. During this time he also learned to paint. In 1926 he opened his own studio, but it was years before he exhibited his works publicly. Beginning in 1936 Parpan exhibited solo shows in Paris and smaller French towns.
Parpan participated in many group exhibitions. Beginning in the 1950s he exhibited regularly at the Salon de l'Art Libre in Paris and the Salon des Indépendants. He exhibited at the Exposition d'Art Sacré in Vézelay in 1951; Salon des Conches in 1956 and 1961; Salon de la Jeune Sculpture in Paris in 1956; Salon d'Asnièrs in 1958, 1963, and 1965; Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1970. Parpan was a "membre sociétaire" of the Salon d'Automne, Salon des Indépanedants, Salon des Formes Humains at the Musée Rodin, Salon Compairason, Salon des Terres Latines, and Salon de l'Art Libre.
In 1994 his work was exhibited at the Marie du XVI arrondissement (the town hall) in Paris. He was awarded a silver medal from the Ville de Paris, a vermeil medal from Arts et Lettres, and Prix Européan de la Sculpture in Rouen in 1991.
Parpan also exhibited outside of France. He won a first place prize in Monte Carlo. He exhibited as well in many galleries in England, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United States.
Parpan worked in marble and stone, including alabaster and onyx. He also created works from wood, ivory, ebony, and bronze. He sculpted many religious works notably a Christ en Croix (Christ on the Cross), a Vierge à l'Enfant (Virgin and Child), and other figures including a series of statues of musicians. He also sculpted animals including L'Oiseaux en Vol (Bird in Flight) and Le Chant du Coq (Rooster's Song). Parpan opted for simplistic forms and figures with use of distinct and smooth plans and clean and sleek lines. His style exemplifies modern classicism.
This stunning statue in wood stands 21cm tall and is breathtakingly beautiful. It is extremely rare for a Christian piece by Parpan to come onto the market and I feel so blessed that I found this one. I suspect that there will only ever by one.
There is a small damage to the right hand of Christ.
The link below from sold items of Christies of London shows that works by this artist have sold from between $10,000 and $65,000.