A late 19th century Art Nouveau centrepiece is one of the highlights at Quittenbaum’s Munich sale on May 15 estimated at €38,000-46,000.

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It was created by the French sculptor Raoul Larche (1860-1912), many of whose most famous works were inspired by the dancer Loie Fuller.

In this case the artist chose a mythological maritime theme for his sculpture. The 2ft 5in (75cm) high gilt bronze depicts mermaids emerging from the sea holding aloft three oyster shells, surmounted by a nude.

It was cast by the renowned Parisian foundry Siot-Decauville. Models were executed in silver, pewter and bronze, some patinated, some – as in this case – gilt. The exact number of different models is not known.

In contrast to several examples which have been on the market in recent years or which can be found in international museums, the centrepiece in the Munich auction comes complete with two corresponding vases. It is estimated at €38,000-46,000.