Born in 1881 into the family of a wealthy industrialist in Brussels, Marguerite de Bayser- Gratry began to experiment with clay shortly after she married at a young age. Her passion for sculpture grew rapidly, and she soon made it a central focus of her life. She excelled in her work, receiving her first professional recognition in 1908, a prestigious award from the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français. Her work was inspired by her close observation of nature, and was also largely influenced by her numerous travels. She was particularly fascinated by ancient Egyptian art, which she discovered during a trip to Egypt in 1920, and its purity of line and symmetry became, in her own words, "the foundation of [her] work." During the 1920s, Bayser- Gratry blossomed into a fully realized artist with her unique style drawn from nature and inspired by history, and during this decade her sculptures began to draw attention and acclaim.
In 1925, she received the prestigious Grand Prix du Salon des Artistes Décorateurs and associated herself closely with sculptors François Pompon and Charles Despiau, who recognized her great talent and the distinctive force of her artistic style.
"The Sole" is a unique piece, sculpted in 1929-30 and shown for the first time in the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in 1930. Later that same year, the work was exhibited in Edgar Brandt's gallery in Paris alongside works by Edouard-Marcel Sandoz, François Pompon and Georges Artemoff. Naturalistic subject of the fish works in extraordinary harmony with the beautiful pink Algerian onyx, which is a perfect medium to highlight the elegant implied movement of the sole, with the effects of the light on the grain of the stone and the sculpture's stylized forms mimicking the appearance of a fish swimming underwater. The rhythm of the fish also evokes the energy and forms of Italian Futurism, adding another dimension to this shape that is seemingly floating in space. Bayser-Gratry's emblematic work, "The Sole" is perfectly characteristic of the artist's classical yet uniquely modern aesthetic, with her signature feminine sensibility. She was quite fond of this piece and kept it in her personal collection throughout her life. Given its success, she had this iconic work cast in bronze by the famous Susse Frères Foundry from a plaster model that remains in the possession of her descendants to this day. Our original version remains an extraordinary example of Bayser-Gratry's elegant work in stone.