‘La Bohémienne’, a bronze sculpture

‘La Bohémienne’, a bronze sculpture

By Emmanuel Villanis (1858-1914).



An eye catching bust of a woman made by Emmanuel Villanis (1858-1914).


Emmanuel Villanis, born on the 12th of December in 1858 in Lille, France and died on the 28th of August in 1914 in Paris, France at the age of 55. Villanis was educated by Odoardo Tabacchi (Valganna, 19 December 1836 – Milan, 23 March 1905) at the Accademia Albertina in Turin.

Villanis is still known as one of the most productive sculptors of busts in the end of the 19th century. He lived and worked in Paris form 1885 and his female bronze busts, cast by the Society de Bronze de Paris, were exported all over the world. A lot of his busts of women were named with names such as: Mignon, Sapho, Saïda, Carmela, Javotte, Seule and several more.

Villanis’s style is a mixture between the Art nouveau and the Neoclassicism. The female form in his sculptures were often decorated with mythological creatures or floral additions.

La bohémienne

‘La Bohemienne’ means literally ‘The Bohemian girl’. In this context, Bohemianism is the practice where Bohemians are known as to be wanderers, adventurers or vagabonds with an unconventional lifestyle. The word Bohemian was used to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of impoverished writers, artist, musicians, actors and journalists mainly in French in the mid-19th century.

Nowadays, bohemianism and the word bohemian itself has come to be commonly accepted as the description of a certain kind of gypsy, and the language he speaks, or what city he inhabits, is not important anymore. A Bohemian is simply an artist who separates from conventionality in life and in art


Bronze sculptures are often called simply a ‘bronze’, just because this metal is used most for sculptures. The choice for bronze arises from the desirable and advantageous assets of expanding a bit before it sets. In such this way, the finest details of a mould will be filled with bronze to create the best sculptures. Even more advantage is the property of shrinking when it cools, making it easier to separate from the detailed mould. A number of distinct casting processes are used for making bronzes. Lost-wax casting, sand casting and centrifugal casting are the most used casting methods.

Nowadays, bronze is still a precious metal and could easily be stolen to be melted down. During the first and second world war, a lot of sculptures were melted down to make weapons or ammunition. Luckily a generous number of sculptures were preserved in museums and in private collections. Possibly the first bronze ever made (and preserved) dates back from 2300-1750 BCE and it is held by the national museum in New Delhi.

Many different bronze alloys exist. The most common alloy for bronze is 88% copper and 12% tin. Classic and statuary bronze consists mostly of 90% copper and 10 % tin. The term bronze is tending to be regarded in museums and replaced in descriptions as ‘a copper alloy’, mostly seen for older objects.


‘La Bohémienne’, a bronze sculpture


Additional information








2.903 kg


28 x 16 x 9.5 centimeters


Emmanuel Villanis (1858-1914)


‘La Bohémienne’






19th century




Slight signs of wear and tear visible.


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