Raoul Francois Larche (French, 1860-1912), “Loie Fuller, the Dancer” c.1900, gilt bronze table lamp.
Raoul Larche’s bronze table lamps, modeled after Loie Fuller’s famous Serpentine Dance, are a stylistic masterpiece of Art Nouveau aesthetics. Fuller (1862-1928) was an American dancer, who first developed the Serpentine Dance for her performance in the play Quack, M.D. (1889). The popular reception Fuller received helped launch her career in Paris at the Folies-Bergere where she perfected the “dance of light” under stage lighting to better resemble the flowering shapes that Larche captures in the lamp offered here. The swirling movements and organic forms of the dancer’s billowing dress, designed to represent the provocative abandon of a woman under hypnosis, epitomize fin-de-siecle fascination with psychology and light. From 1900-1912, the Parisian foundry Siot-Decauville cast three identical models of the Loie Fuller lamp in three different sizes, with the gilt bronze finish being the most expensive. An identical lamp to the one offered here (bearing the same 705 stamp) sold at Christie’s, New York, December 7, 2001, lot 337. Another identical lamp (bearing the same markings) sold at Neal’s Auction House April 25-27, 2014, lot 540, for $22,800.