Emprunt de la défense nationale
The annexation of Alsace and part of Lorraine left a painful and highly resented wound in much of French public opinion. The memory of the lost provinces aroused great patriotic artistic production, including literature, art, popular imagery, toys and songs that was widespread in the 1870s and 1880s.
The two little busts on piedouches (pedestals) in burnished plaster personify the “two sisters, prisoners under the German yoke”. Dated 1876, they are the work of Angelo Francia, whose signature is visible on the back of the statuettes.
These figures of Alsace and Lorraine are part of the tradition of feminine patriotic representation, but more chaste than an idealized and desirable Marianne: their intricate bodices are open, but the chest is covered, while their posture and expressions are serious. The knot of the traditional hairstyle worn by the Alsatian and the Lorraine cross around the Lorraine woman’s neck enhance the regionalist symbolism of the sculptures.
Angelo Francia (1833-1st half of 20th century), Alsace and Lorraine, 1875, terracotta, 28 x 17 x 9 cm. Inventory no.: 2006.1.1513 and 2006.1.1514.