This statuette is a plaster edition of the portrait-charge of Nicolo Paganini made in 1832, one year after the arrival of the composer and violinist in the Parisian artistic circle.
"One cannot imagine the prodigious effect that the appearance of this long, thin, yellow, emaciated character produced on the public, and whose eyes threw lightning bolts when he attacked on the fourth string his famous sonata! "(Galoppe d'Onquaire, Le musée musical de Dantan Jeune, Paris, Au Ménestrel, 1862).
"Dantan had made this charge, a veritable osteological study, after having seen Paganini play at the Italians, placed in the prompter's hole" (Charges et bustes de Dantan Jeune par le Docteur Prosper Viro, Paris, Librairie Nouvelle, 1863).
A bronze version is kept at the Musée Carnavalet (S225), which also has a patinated plaster copy (S1165), as does the Musée de la Musique (E.986.1.10, from the André Meyer collection).
See Dantan Jeune. Caricatures et portraits de la société romantique (Maison de Balzac, 1989, n° 53).