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Mayeux as a painter with his model

Key data

Zizenhausen, Anton Sohn, after 1835

Clay, made in a mould, fired and painted,

height 16 cm, length of base 16 cm

Inv. 1983.130.


Painted terracotta Zizenhausen figures, of which the Museum owns numerous groups and single pieces, were made in the workshop of the Sohn family in Kummerazhofen or, after 1799, in Zizenhausen near Stockach on Lake Constance. Typical Zizenhausen figures, which were used as everyday ornaments in bourgeois, Biedermeier living rooms, feature a wide range of subjects. Under the influence of the Basle art dealer Johann Rudolf Brenner, who supplied Anton Sohn with models, these included groups of the famous Basle Dance of Death after Merian the Elder and further Basle characters and genre scenes after Hieronymus Hess (1799-1850). An important group is concerned with political caricatures from the satirical journal La Caricature (1830-35) by, among others, Daumier, Grandville and Traviès. Traviès devised the group copied here, the comical hunchback Mayeux, who is shown as the portraitist of a society lady. The inscription on the base, which does not survive, read, "Il n'y a qu'une bonne école, madame, c'est l'école de la bosse" (There is only one good school, Madame, that is the school of 'la bosse'), where bosse meant both hunchback and also bosser, hard work.

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