A LARGE PAIR OF VENETIAN CARVED PINE AND FRUITWOOD DEVIL FIGURES
ATTRIBUTED TO FRANCESCO TOSO (ITALIAN D. 1893)
each figure with horns and faun like ears and with an exaggerated 'S' bend posture, the man wearing a cravat, a waistcoat with detailed buttons and a tailcoat, one hand in a masked pocket, the other webbed and outstretched, with hairy goat like legs, his tail resting between his cloven hoof feet, the female with a menacingly seductive gaze, sporting a hat and wearing a close fitting corset, dress and jacket, with a ruffled lace collar, her shoes carved with masks (2)
190cm high (max)
Francesco Toso was born in Murano, Venice to a family of glass makers. He soon discovered his own path finding great acclaim for his carved sculptures and mirrors. He exhibited at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago where, unfortunately, he sadly died. His most acclaimed work at the exhibition was a pair carved figures which recall the present lot which were inspired by the Faustian characters Marguerite and Mephistopheles.
These fantastical figures would have originally been designed to stand in front of a shop entrance to capture the attention of passers-by. They would have held cards in their fingers and outstretched webbed hand.
For a closely related pair of figures see the Smithsonian affiliated Museum of Arts and Sciences in Florida (inv. A5121). For an autograph pair of Mr and Mrs Satan figures, formerly in the collection of Elsa Schiaparelli, see Christie's, Paris, 'C'est fou', 12th-14th December 2018, lot 138 which sold for €181,250 (including fees).