Menneville Biography





The official identity of Menneville, or "E. Menneville", is unknown, but educated speculation suggests it is a synonym for Ugo Ciprani, an Italian sculptor who was born in Florence, Italy on August 13, 1897.  The son of a sculptor, he was inspired to pursue the medium and studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze. He built a reputation for himself at a young age and was commissioned to design a memorial to Italian patriot Guglielmo Oberdan, in Oberdan’s Square, Florence, in 1919, where it remains today.

With the rise of Fascism in the 1930s, Cipriani fled to France around 1935 in a bid to escape Mussolini’s oppressive government. In Paris he lived as a political refugee until the end of the war, at which point he opted to remain in France. There, he continued working on his craft until his death 
in Paris on June 18, 1960. 

According to Sheryl Ryen, an antique dealer in England who spoke with Lydia Cipriani, Ugo's daughter, the connection between the artist and the name "Menneville" was his first wife, Madelaine Bouchetot de Menneville. It is thought that he used her name to hide his identity, producing some of his most well known imagery in various mediums including spelter, spelter and ivorine, bronze and terracotta.  Said Ryen, "I believe it is too much of a coincidence that the Menneville statues are very much in the style of Cipriani’s work. ...I know for a fact that many of the works of Cipriani, Menneville... were produced by the Silvin foundry in Paris during the early 1930s. Therefore I conclude it is highly likely that Menneville was a pseudonym used by Ugo Cipriani on his spelter and spelter and ivorine pieces. His bronzes and terracottas were usually signed Cipriani and many were unsigned. I also believe he used the pseudonyms 'De Viggo' and 'Roggia'."

Enthusiasts of Menneville statuary and sculptures will no doubt have come across works signed "Menneville et Rochard", the latter name of which refers to sculptor Irenee Rochard (French, 1906-1984) who frequently collaborated with Menneville to produce works at the Silvin foundry in Paris.