IT is always a pleasant task to praise. And as regards the chief sculptors of the last fifty years, it will be readily con-ceded that little but sincere admiration is called for. France so easily, so incontestably, takes the first place in nineteenth century sculpture, that the task of recording mere material attainment would be a very simple one. In the Exhibition of 1889 we were offered a memorable opportunity of studying the efforts of modern artists. And the impression made by their works was a profound one. For, besides technical skill, and appreciation of beauty, we found evidences of the revolt against materialism of which I have spoken elsewhere. And in many works which have been produced since 1889, we see that this mystic and spiritual revival is having an increasing effect on sculptors as well as on painters.
The barriers have long been overthrown which bound Art in fetters. Rude and Barye opened the way once for all to original thought, to individual effort. And although rewards and encouragement are still the attributes of the Institute and the State, neither the one nor the other is now afraid of recognizing new talent, even though that talent may have sprung into being outside the walls of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Indeed we may say that the personal note is now the popular one. And it seems probable that we may soon be crying aloud for a return to a stricter and more academic view of Art, after seeing eccentricity exalted into a -supreme virtue, and the great ones of the past despised.
As I pointed out in the last chapter, sculpture cannot exist without respect for the great traditions of the past without persistent training. And nowhere at the present time is the sculptor given such training as in France. But this training, so absolutely essential, has its perils. The sculptor’s art, so material in itself, has always had to guard against the danger of being content with a duplicate of the human creatureagainst looking upon perfection of accomplishment as an end. Modern Italian statuary, with its lace petticoats and other ghastly abominations, shows to what depths of degradation a positively absurd technical dexterity can lead.
Had I to dwell on mere material attainment of a very high order, I repeat, my task would be an easy one. But if a statue is to live, we demand more than the outer semblance of the human form, however perfect. What we must seek in the amazing assemblage of talent that we see among modern French sculptors, is the thought, the spirit, which alone makes the work live. And I hope to show that in the works of many modern artists we do find the perfection of training and technical skill allied with the ideal that gives life. In Carpeaux’s ” Danse “in M. Paul Dubois’ ” Jeanne d’Arc “in Chapu’s adorable ” Jeunesse “in M. Guillaume’s bust of ” Mgr. Darboy “in M. Falguière’s ” Henri de la Rochejaquelein,” and M. Mercié’s ” Souvenir “in the works of Puech and Dalou and many more, we find the life-giving idea that will keep their name and their fame alive in time to come. M. Rodin is of course the prophet of the hourthe Impressionist in marble. While M. Bartholomé, maintaining a less startling and rugged technique, may be taken as an example of the symbolist and mystic. And one notes with thankfulness that thought, ideas, searchings after manifestations of the spirit in material form, in marble and bronze, are very present among the contemporary sculptors.
Before, however, we study the recent sculptors of France, one branch of their art must be noticeda branch in which the French have always been distinguished, and are now absolutely supreme. Of the medals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries I have already spoken. The eighteenth century, when delicate decorative sculpture attained such perfection, also produced medals of considerable beauty. Andrieu and Augustin Dupré represented the art during the Revolution. But after the Restoration it fell for a while into abeyance, until the impulse given to modern sculpture by the three great pioneers, David d’Angers, Rude, and Barye, produced a revival likewise in this exquisite forin of art. Among the modern sculptors, besides David d’Angers, many have from time to time turned their attention to medals-Rude, Préault, Barye, Carpeaux. Some of Chapu’s finest portraits are to be found among his medals in the Luxembourg. But it remained for the medallists of the last forty years to complete the renaissance of their art, and carry it to heights of attainment it has never hitherto reached.
In the Luxembourg, we have an admirable opportunity of studying the works of these masters in their art. The somewhat rugged work of MICHEL CAZIN. ANTOINE GARDET’S fine portraits of Mme. de Chambrun and Mme. Ernest Hébert. ALPHÉE DUBOIS’ fine commemorative and official medals. ALEXANDRE CHARPENTIER’S imaginative work, and his charming babies, ” Pierre et Jean “.
And the work of the four chiefs in this art stands out grandly among so much that is admirable. These are —–
DANIEL-DUPUIS, JEAN-BAPTISTE, (b. Blois), who won the grand prix de Rome in 1872. Among the many examples of his work, perhaps some of the finest are his portraits, such as those of M.M. Guillaume, Barrias, Roger Marx, P. C. Jules Janssen.
PATEY, HENRI-AUGUSTE-JULES (b. Paris), grand prix de Rome 1881, and author of the beautiful ” L’Espérance “. A case of M. Patey’s medals was exhibited at the Exhibition of French Art at the Guildhall, 1898, and made a profound impression.
CHAPLAIN, JULES-CLÉMENT, O., M. DE L’INST. (b. Mortagne, Orne).A pupil of Jouffroy, M. Chaplain gained the grand prix de Rome in 1863. It is difficult among the many chef d’oeuvres of this great artist to single out one in particular. But whether we choose ” L’Inspiration “or the portrait of ” Gambetta “the commemorative medal of the ” Donation du Chateau de Chantilly à l’Institut “or the charming silvered bronze of ” Mes Enfants “all bear the stamp of the true artist.
ROTY, OSCAR, O., M. DE L’INST. (b. Paris), is the supreme master, whose every touch, firm, strong, delicately imaginative, reveals his genius. Grand prix de Rome in 1875, a pupil of Dumont and M. Ponscarme, M. Roty’s distinguished talent gives evidence of profound study. While, whether in the tiny medal or the large plaquette, we find tenderness, imagination, deep insight into character and temperament, unflinching love of truth, a fertile invention, and unsurpassed charm.
One need only mention ” Maternité,” ” Le Club-Alpin-Français,” ” M. Pasteur’s 70th Birthday,” ” M. and Mme. Bigot-Danel’s Silver Wedding,” and the portrait plaquettes of the artist’s parents, of Mlle. Taine, of Mme. Roty, of little Maurice Roty, aged fifty-two months, with the spray of wild rose on the reverseto call to mind some of the most exquisite works of art the nineteenth century has produced.
CARPEAUX, JEAN-BAPTISTE (b. Valenciennes, 1825 ; d. Courbevoie, 1875).The firstfruits of Rude’s influence, Carpeaux was a worthy pupil of that great master. For next to Rude, Carpeaux is perhaps the most striking individuality among sculptors of the century. The city of Valenciennes, which has given birth to so many fine artists in the past and the present, sent young Carpeaux to Paris with a small allowance. He went first to Rude’s studio ; and then, by his master’s generous advice, to that of Duret, who was more in favour with the École des Beaux Arts, which Carpeaux entered in 1844. Ten years later he gained the grand prix de Rome. His first envoi from the Villa Medicis was a ” Petit Pêcheur à la Coquille “evidently inspired by Rude’s delicious ” Petit Pêcheur “. But it was Michael Angelo whose genius affected him most deeply in Rome. And after the Fisher boy, he threw himself with passion into his group of ” Ugolino,” in which the influence of Michael Angelo is clearly seen. The plaster model was the last piece he sent from Rome ; the bronze, now in the gardens of the Tuileries, was exhibited in the Salon of 1863.
In 1866 M. de Niewerkerke presented Carpeaux at the Tuileries, and thus began a connection which lasted to the very end. For it was Carpeaux’s hand that modelled the last bust of Napoleon III. at Chiselhurst on January 13, 1873. The original plaster model is now in the new room at the Louvre, opened in June, 1898, which contains besides, the original models of his busts of Alexandre Dumas fils, of Madame Carpeaux, and several others. Carpeaux’s bust portraits were a most important part of his work. He began the series in 1862; and left some thirty as a lasting contribution to contemporary biography. It is only necessary to mention the Eugene Giraud, now in the Louvre, and the, marvellous bronze of M. Gérôme, to show how Carpeaux’s manner in portraiture has affected many of the most celebrated and modern of living artists.
The first commission given him by the Emperor was the decoration of the southern façade of the Pavillon de Flore, at the Tuileries. The great group of the pediment is the least original part of the work. But in the delicious central bas-relief” Le Triomphe de Fiore “we get the master’s genius fully shown. The great success of this decoration was followed by others still greaterthe beautiful group, ” La Danse,” for the new opera house, full of such extra-ordinary life, vigour, and lightness that it positively gives a sense of air ; and the famous fountain of the Avenue de l’Observatoire” Les quatre parties du monde soutenant la sphère “. The plaster model is now in the Louvre. ” It is ” the last word of the sculptor of motion “the four nude female figures, a European, a negress, a Chinese, and a Peruvian, turning in rhythmic measure beneath the great sphere that rests lightly on their upraised hands. Each figure is symbolic in a high degreeas well as of extreme. beauty.
Examples in Louvre :
Bust, bronze, Eugène Giraud. 528.
Busts, ‘original plaster, Mme. Carpeaux ; Mme. I. ; Mme. Lefevre ; Alexandre Dumas fils ; Napoleon III., dated Chiselhurst, Jan. 13, 1873.
La Danse, original model for the group on the New Opera House. 529.
Les quatre parties du monde soutenant la sphère, original model. 531.
The same in bronze, Avenue de l’Observatoire.
FRÉMIET, EMMANUEL, ., M. DE L’INST. (b. Paris, 1824), one of Rude’s most distinguished pupils, as well as his nephew, began his long series of Salons in 1843 with a gazellea study in plaster. And for some years he exhibited little else but splendid studies of animals. Indeed, all through his brilliant career, animals have been one of his most original and most delightful subjects of observation. Every visitor to the Luxembourg knows the delicious ” Dénicheur d’Oursons “the little Pan with his careless, humorous face, wholly occupied in stirring up a wild bee’s nest for two baby bears. I confess I never can pass the little demi-god, so absorbed in his idle mischief, without a friendly word. Of late M. Frémiet has turned again to these studies of animal nature in a commission for the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, for which he modelled the fearful scene of a combat between Borneans and ourangoutangs, exhibited in the Salon of 1895. He had already tried his hand on such monstrous creatures in his ” Rétiaire et Gorille” of 1876. But M. Frémiet has not devoted himself to animals alone.
In 1880 he exhibited the first edition of his ” Jeanne d’Arc” of the Place des Pyramides. But dissatisfied with certain details, with a splendid generosity and rare artistic conscience he began the whole thing over again. More recently, among many other works, the fine ” Velasquez équestre ” must be noted, in the Jardin de l’Infante at the Louvrea souvenir of that little Infanta of Spain, who, when barely four years old, was despatched to France under a treaty as fiancée of Louis XV., then twelve, and sent home three years later, only leaving her name to the’ garden in which she played beside the Seine.
Everything M. Frémiet produces is touched with an originality of thought, an impetuous vigour, a life and fire, which should go far to inspire his contemporaries and his followers. These qualities are to be found in those small bronzesanimals and statuetteswhich are the delight of the connaisseur.
Examples in Luxembourg :
Pan et Ours, marble. 482.
Le Chien blessé, bronze, 1851. 481.
Saint Georges, statuette gilt bronze. 483.
Jeanne d’Arc, Place des Pyramides, Paris.
L’homme à l’Age de pierre, Jardin des Plantes.
Velasquez équestre, Jardin de l’Infante, Louvre.
Louis d’Orléans, bronze, Chateau de Pierrefonds.
Ravageot et Ravageode, chiens bassets, Chateau de Compiègne.
Among his best known statuettes are the MénestrelFauconnierSpadassinSaint Michelall in silvered bronze. And the series of military statuettes in bronze.
GARDET, GEORGES, * (b. Paris), pupil of Aimé Millet and M. Frémiet, is a direct inheritor of Barye. And without Barye, one imagines M. Gardet would hardly have reached such high attainment as a sculptor of animals. His tiger fight of the Luxembourgthe marble coloured slightly, gives a singularly life-like touchis a grand bit of-work. While his group of Lions and Tigers for the chateau of Vaux le Vicomte, was one of the chief triumphs of the Salon of 1898.
CAIN, AUGUSTE-NICHOLAS, . (b. Paris, 1822 ; d. Paris, 1894), a pupil of Rude and M. Guionnet, is another artist who devoted himself to the study of animals. His two colossal bronze groups at the entrance to the Tuileries gardens from the rue de la Paixof the Tigers and Rhinoceros, and the family of Lionsare familiar to every visitor to Paris. And such is their force and life that one would .not be surprised if they bore Barye’s signature.
CHRISTOPHE, ERNEST-LOUIS-AQUILAS, (b. Loches, 1827 ; d. Paris, 1892).” Son jeune élève Christophe ” was one of Rude’s favourite pupils, who more than most sculptors gave himself over to those imaginative endeavours which are so curious and interesting a development of Modern Art. His two groups in the Luxembourg, one in bronze, one in marble, are both inspired by lines of Leconte de Lisle”La Fatalité”
L’epée en main, le pied sur la roue immortelle-
-And ” Le Baiser suprême,” of the Sphinx to the poet who she destroys.
CORDIER, CHARLES,* (b. Cambrai), another pupil of Rude’s atelier, has, unlike Christophe, endeavoured to record racial types in all their realitysuch as his busts of a ” Nègre du Soudan ” and a ” Négresse des Colonies “in various coloured marbles ; and to revive the polychrome sculpture of the ancients.
And while speaking of this subject let us note the very remarkable little statuettenow in a place of honour in the Luxembourgof ” Salammbô chez Mathô,” by RIVIÈRE-THÉODORE, LOUIS-AUGUSTE (b. Toulouse), a pupil of Jouffroy and M.M. Falguière and Mercié. It is technically described as a ” Statuette chryséléphantine,” in which, after the fashion one supposes of the Minerve Chryséléphantine of Phidias, ivory, gold, silver, and bronze are mingled. What-ever the means, the sensation of that supreme scene of Flaubert’s great novel is finely rendered.
CARRIER-BELLEUSE, ALBERT-ERNEST, . (b. Anizy le Chateau, Aisne, 1824 ; d. Sèvres, 1887).A pupil of David d’Angers, Carrier-Belleuse was for many years director of the Works at Sèvres. His portrait statues and busts were highly thought of. But his ” Hébé endormie,” now in the Luxembourg, created a real sensation in the Salon of 1869.
MILLET, AIMÉ O.’ (b. Paris, 1819 ; d. Paris, 1891), sculptor and painter, pupil of his father and of David d’Angers and Viollet-le-Duc, entered the École des Beaux Arts in 1836. In 1849 he exhibited a ” Jeune Pâtre pleurant son chevreau “. And after a good many portrait busts, etc., and a number of excellent paintings from various Italian and Spanish masters, his ” Ariane ” of 1857 was bought by the State. It is now in the Luxembourg. The huge ” Vercingétorix,” for the plateau d’Alise, Côte d’Or, of 1865 ; and the tomb of ” Henri Murger,” Cimetière Montmartre, are among his best known works, with the great group surmounting the new Opera House.
A charming portrait of Aimé Millet, by M. Bonnat, was given by the painter and Mme. Aimé Millet to the Luxembourg.
DUBOIS, PAUL, G.O., M. DE L’INST. (b. Nogent sur Seine, 1829).-M. Paul Dubois, the distinguished Director of the École des Beaux Arts, is singularly well-fitted for such a position ; for he is a painter as well as a sculptor, and a keen observer in both arts. ” Un des maîtres les plus fins, les plus ” délicats, les plus noblement artistes et, ce qui ne gâte rien, ” un des plus modestes de notre temps.” Such words betray the admiration with which the artist is regarded both as man and as artist.
Studying first under Toussaint, one of David d’Angers’ pupils, M. Paul Dubois entered the École des Beaux Arts somewhat late, in 1858, when he was nearly thirty. But his time had not been wasted ; for he had spent the intervening years in travel and study. And it was in Italy in 1860 that he made the sketch of his ” Saint Jean-Baptiste, enfant “. This charming statue in plaster was exhibited in 1863 with the ” Narcisse,” and followed in 1865 by the plaster model of the well-known ” Chanteur Florentin “. The three statuesthe ” Narcisse ” in marble, the others in bronzewere exhibited in the Exposition Universelle of 1867 ; and are now in the Luxembourg. They had an immediate success, and gained their author a Médaille d’Honneur. We see in them a certain early Florentine influence. But in the next few years, with his admirable busts of Henner, Paul Baudry, etc., etc., the master’s own individuality asserts itself, and prepares us for his chief work, the ” Tomb of Général Lamoricière,” in the Cathedral of Nantes.
This great monument is placed opposite Michel Colombe’s famous tomb of the Duc de Bretagne.’ And M. Paul Dubois has arranged his chef d’oeuvre with singular felicity, after the style of the Renaissance monuments. The General’s figure lies under a canopy supported by black and white marble columns. And at the four outer angles of the stylobate four figures are seatedas in Michel Colombe’s monumentCharity, Faith, Meditation, and Military Courage. While Wisdom, Eloquence, Justice, Strength, Hope, Prudence, Religion, occupy medallions on the columns ; and delightful funeral genii, and renaissance ornaments in low relief, complete the work, which holds its own even in comparison with that of the famous Colombe.
Among M. Paul Dubois’ later works one of the most remarkable is the ” Jeanne d’Arc ” of 1895an equestrian statue for the city of Reims. Among the many statues of La Pucelle, few have surpassed this in admirable thought and feelingeven to that ” gaucherie ” with which she carries her sword aloft, ” comme elle portrait le cierge l’Église de ” Domrémy,” as M. Melchior de Vogüé says.
M. Paul Dubois’ paintings are chiefly portraits. The charming one of ” Mes Enfants ” appeared in the Salon of 1876, and was again exhibited in the Exposition Centennale of 1889, with several others.
Examples in Luxembourg :
Saint-Jean-Baptiste, enfant, bronze. 473.
Narcisse, marble. 474.
Chanteur Florentin, bronze argenté. 475.
Tomb of Général Lamoricière, Cathedral of Nantes.
Jeanne d’Arc, bronze, Reims.
Connétable de Montmorency, Terrace, Chantilly.
CHAPU, HENRI-MICHEL-ANTOINE, O. M. DE L’INST. (b. au Mée, Seine et Marne, 1833 ; cl. 1891).-The death of M. Chapu at the height of his powers in 1891 was a heavy blow to modern sculpture ; for it robbed France of a most brilliant, a most original, and a most poetic artist. If nothing remained of M. Chapu’s work but the ” Jeunesse ” of Henri Regnault’s monument in the cloisters of l’École des Beaux Arts, it would be enough to secure him a foremost place for all time among nineteenth century sculptors. Few modern figures are so full of absolute grace, combined with such a poetic sensation of passionate and yet dignified regret.
A pupil of Pradier and Duret, he entered the École des Beaux Arts in 1849 ; and after two second prizes, gained the grand prix de Rome in 1855. ” If M. Chapu has been to ” Rome, he demonstrates how one can return from thence.” Without ever casting aside the respect of tradition, he is essentially modern in his work.
His first work for the Salon was in 1863, the ” Mercure inventant le caducée,” now in the Luxembourg. This must not be confounded with Idrac’s statue of the same subjectwhich I must consider much the most original of the two. Chapu’s is somewhat “rhetorical “. He had not shaken himself free from the fetters of tradition at that time. But within ten years he could give us the exquisite ” Jeunesse “. The model of the ” Jeanne d’Arc “a much discussed figure was in the Salon of 1868. The marble in that of 1870. It is now in the Luxembourg. But Chapu’s full talent is manifested in such ideal figures of women as the exquisite ” Jeunesse “the pathetic and lovely figure of ” Princesse Hélène ” on the tomb of the Duc d’Orléans at Dreuxand’ the beautiful ” France ” of the Cathedral of Rouen, holding a sword while she offers a wreath of bays to the kneeling Cardinal Bonnechose above her.
The Luxembourg contains some very fine medals by Chapu, mostly executed between 1864 and 1881. They are larger than is usual ; and some are of high merit.
Examples in Luxembourg :
Mercure inventant le Caducée. 449.
Jeanne d’Arc à Domrémy. 450.
La Jeunesse, Monument to Henri Regnault, Ecole des Beaux Arts.
La Pensée, tomb of Mme. d’Agoult.
Monument of Duc d’Orléans, Église de Dreux.
Monument to Cardinal Bonnechose, 1883, Cathedral of Rouen.
GUILLAUME, CLAUDE- JEAN – BAPTISTE – EUGÉNE, G. O. , M. DE L’ACAD. FR. (b. Montbard (Côte d’Or), 1822).M. Guillaume, a pupil of Pradier, is one of those artists distinguished alike as a thinker and a worker, who has contributed both in theory and in practice to the advancement of Art. His life has been marked out for success from the beginning. Entering the École des Beaux Arts in 1841, he gained the grand prix de Rome in 1845. Ten years later he obtained a first medal. But his reputation was already established by his ” Gracchi,” in the Salon of 1853, now in the Luxembourg, which was an evidence of Ingres’ famous dictum, ” Le dessin est la probité de l’art “. And this probity has always been found in M. Guillaume’s work, marked among that of modern artists by a dignity, almost amounting to severity of style. This is seen in a high degree in his noble bust of ” Monsignor Darboy ” 1 in his pontifical robes, which with certain others by M. Guillaumenotably the ” Ingres ” in the École des Beaux Artsare well worthy to rank with the grand series of busts for which the French school has been famed from its outset. M. Guillaume’s life is a record of constant and well-merited success. In 1862 he was elected a membre de l’Institut. Two years later he was made Director of the École des Beaux Arts, a post he filled till 1879. In that year he became Directeur Général des Beaux Arts. A little later Directeur de l’École de France à Rome. And in 1898 he was elected a membre de l’Académie de France, as a recognition of his many writings on Art.
Examples in Luxembourg :
Anacréon, 1851, marble. 487.
Les Gracques, 1853. 488.
Mgr. Darboy, 1874. 489.
Le Faucheur, 1849. 490.
Vie de Ste. Clotilde, bas relief, Church of Ste. Clotilde.
Four saints, stone statues, Church of La Trinité.
Fronton et Cariatides, Pavillon Turgot, Louvre.
La Musique instrumentale, façade of the Opera.
Ingres, bust, École des Beaux Arts, Paris.
Colbert, statue, bronze, Reims.
François Buloz, bust, Collection of M. C. Buloz.
FALGUIÉRE, JEAN ALEXANDRE JOSEPH, C., M. DE L’INST. (b. Toulouse, 1831).It is difficult to write of the intensely sympathetic talent of M. Falguière without overstepping the limits of conventional criticism. Few artists make so personal and intimate an appeal to the artistic sense, as the sculptor of ” Le Vainqueur au Combat de Coqs,” that wholly delightful bronze of the Luxembourg, so full of vigour, and youth, and the joie de vivre. One hardly knows which is the most triumphant creaturethe beautiful lad, or his proud game-cock.
M. Falguière is one of the many distinguished artists to whom Toulouse has given birth. And in the vivacity and sense of life in his work, we trace his southern blood. A pupil of Jouffroy, he gained the grand prix de Rome in 1859. And the ” Vainqueur au Combat de Coqs ” brought him a medal at the Salon of 1864 ; followed by a first class medal in 1867, for the well-known ” Tarcissius,” the boy martyr.
But with all his vigour and daring sense of life, M. Falguière is never found wanting in dignity or in the true sense of beauty. His statue, for instance, in 1895, of the Vendéan hero, ” Henri de la Rochejaquelein,” is the work of a poet. The proud young figure of the general of twenty-two years old, is the embodiment of his famous saying : ” Si ” je recule, tuez-moi ; si j’avance, suivez-moi ; si je moeurs, vengez-”moi”. And in the noble portrait bust of the “Baronne Daumesnil, Surintendante de la Légion d’Honneur,” we find a tender and respectful presentment of dignified old age, infinitely touching and impressive. Among his most celebrated statues are the ” Eve ” of 1880, his two “Dianas,” and the ” Saint Vincent de Paul “.
But M. Falguière does not confine his artistic effort to sculpture alone. In 1875 he obtained a second medal for painting, with his ” Lutteurs “. And his ” Éventail et poignard ” of the Luxembourg, shows the same qualities of life and vigour as his sculpture, with a fine sense of colour as well.
Examples in Luxembourg :
Tarcissius, marble. 477.
Un Vainqueur au Combat de Coqs, bronze. 478.
Portrait de Mme. la baronne Daumesnil. 479.
Saint Vincent de Paul, marble statue, Panthéon.
Le progrès terrassant l’erreur, Panthéon.
Éventail et poignard, Luxembourg.
MERCIÉ, ANTONIN, C. (b. Toulouse), a pupil of Jouffroy, and of his compatriot M. Falguière, is another of that brilliant company of artists from Toulouse, which includes Ingres and Boilly, Falguière, Idrac, and Marqueste, Troy, Valenciennes, Serres, Debat-Ponson, Destrem, and scores of lesser lights.
There was no hesitation visible in M. Mercié’s talent from the outset ; and success came swiftly. M. Falguière’s favourite pupil gained the grand prix de Rome in 1868 ; and four years later received a first medal for his beautiful ” David,” in the Salon of 1872. This success was confirmed in 1874 by the epic group ” Gloria Victis “a subject which, treated with such original and harmonious skill, was bound to stir all hearts at such a moment. The bronze now stands in the Square Monthollon. And the original plaster group has been moved to one of the Salons of the Hotel de Ville. In 1877 came the fine bronze group in high-relief, ” Le génie des Arts ” ; which replaced Barye’s Napoléon III.” on the guichet of the Louvre.
But perhaps Mercié’s most charming work is the exquisite figure known as ” Le Souvenir,” on the tomb of Mme. Charles Ferry, at Thann, Alsace. M. Charles Ferry has given a repetition of the original to the Luxembourg. And it would be hard to find a more lovely and touching work in modern sculpture than the graceful veiled figure of the young and beautiful woman.
David, bronze, Luxembourg. 510.
Le Souvenir, Luxembourg. 511.
Gloria Victis, plaster model, Hotel de Ville, Paris.
Gloria Victis, bronze, Square Monthollon, Paris.
Le Génie des Arts, Guichet du Louvre.
Quand même, Jardin des Tuileries.
Arago, statue and bas relief, Perpignan.
Monuments to Baudry and Michelet, Père Lachaise.
Monument to le roi Louis Philippe, Dreux.
IDRAC, JEAN-ANTOINE-MARIE, (b. Toulouse, 1849 ; d. Paris, 1885), another Toulousian, who died at the age of thirty-six, had already shown not only promise but power. A pupil of M.M. Guillaume and Falguière, he gained the grand prix de Rome in 1873 ; and in 1879 exhibited his ” Mercure inventant le Caducée,” now in the Luxembourg (493) ; followed in 1882 by the ” Salammbô ” (494). He also collaborated with his fellow-citizen, M. Marqueste, in the very fine equestrian statue of ” Etienne Marcel,” now on the Quai des Gesvres.
MARQUESTE, LAURENT-HONORÉ, M. DE L’INST. (b. Toulouse), a pupil of Jouffroy and M. Falguière, and a grand prix de Rome two years before Idrac, is represented in the Luxembourg by three statuesCupidon (507) ; Galatée (508); Persée et la Gorgone (509).
But though not actually born in Toulouse, PUECH, DENYS, (b. Gavernac, Aveyron), may be counted as a memberthe youngestof the group. For he is of the countrya pupil of MM. Falguière and Chapuand one of the most interesting of the younger sculptors.
The Luxembourg contains two of his statues” La Muse d’André Chénier ” (520), and ” La Sirène ” (521). They show besides extreme facility, both thought and inventiveness. One of his charming busts of women is also therea part of his work in which he has already made a great reputation, though he only gained the prix de Rome in 1884. In the Salon of 1898 he exhibited a large plaster group for the monument to François Garnier, to be erected in the place de l’Observatoire. Let us hope that the future may see much more of M. Puech.
BARRIAS, LOUIS-ERNEST, ., M. DE L’INST. (b. Paris, 1841), the sculptor of the ” Spinner” (431), and of the better known ” Mozart enfant ” (432), both in the Luxembourg, is the son of Félix Barrias the painter, and a pupil of Jouffroy and Cavelier. His really fine statue of ” Bernard Palissy ” in the little square of St. Germain des Prés, is hardly ever observed in the rush of trams and omnibuses. But it well repays careful attention ; for it shows admirable truth and feeling.
SAINT-MARCEAU, RENÉ DE, O. (b. Reims), is another of Jouffroy’s many pupils. He is said to be an amateur. But there is little of the amateur about M. de Saint-Marceau, unless it be that he is not obliged to work for his breada kind of amateurism many would wish to share.
Of his three works in the Luxembourg” La Jeunesse de Dante ” (1896), ” Génie gardant le secrét de la tombe ” (1879), ” Buste d’homme ” (1892)perhaps the bust of his friend Dagnan-Bouveret is the most deeply interesting. It is a remarkable character studythe sculptor’s vision of the painter. The ” Génie gardant le secrét de la tombe ” received a médaille d’honneur in 1879. But M. de Saint-Marceau will always be best known by that strangely attractive and enigmatic figure, his famous ” Arlequin ” of 1880. The bronze, which was re-exhibited at the Universal Exposition of 1889, created an effect, when seen in the central Hall, that will not easily be forgotten. The original plaster model was given by the artist to the museum of his native place, Reims.
If M. de Saint-Marceau produces but little, that little is of admirable quality. And his two contributions to the Salon du Champ de Mars of the Société Nationale, 1898, show that he has not contented himself with success attained : but is still striving for further attainment. They were the remarkable bronze bust of ” Gabriel d’Annunzio ” ; and the very beautiful ” image de Nos Destinées, cette vision ” fuyait au soleil couchant parmi les nuées “which, it is said, was suggested to M. de Saint-Marceau by a swift flying cloud. Whether such an effort comes within the legitimate range of statuary is a question. In any case it is an effort of imagination which it is well worth trying to realize.
BOUCHER, ALFRED, . (b. Nogent-sur-Marne), is the author of the striking group now in the garden of the Luxembourg, ” Les Coureurs “. It was an audacious attempt : but a successful one. And in 1890 he followed its violent action with an antithesis almost as striking” Le Repos “the nude figure of a sleeping woman, stretched upon a low Roman couch. This is in the Luxembourg (483), and is as delicate and chaste in sentiment as it is beautiful in technique.
DALOU, JULES, . (b. Paris),a founder of the Société des Artistes Francais, is one of those militant spirits, brought up in the academic school of Abel de Pujol and Duret, who awoke to life and strength in contact with Carpeaux’s genius. The fine bas-relief for the Chamber of Deputies in 1883, ” Séance du 23 Juin, 1789, des Etats Généraux,” made him famous, and brought him a médaille d’Honneur. This was followed in a couple of years by the statue of Blanqui, now one of the most striking monuments in Père Lachaise, in its penetrating truth and pathos. The Luxembourg owns the great Sèvres Vase, modelled by M. Dalou, ornamented with lovely children and garlands. His busts of Henri Rochefort, André Theuriet, etc., are of the very highest value.
But his chef d’oeuvre in my opinion, is the monument to Eugène Delacroix in the quiet corner of the Luxembourg gardens, under the shade of the plane trees, with Marie de Médicis’ Palace for a background, and the splash of water below. Time, Glory, and Apollo offer wreaths and bays to the bust of the great painter. ” Le voilà bien avec son air ” inquiet et nerveux, maladif et volontaire, pensif et ardent ; “avec le regard perçant de ses yeux à travers les paupières ” mi-closes et clignotantes, reculés et comme à l’affût sous ` l’arcade sourcilière proéminente.”1 It is a monument worthy ‘of the master, and one which does honour to M. Dalou’s genius.
DAMPT, JEAN, (b. Vénarcy, Côte d’Or), pupil of Jouffroy and M. Paul Dubois, was one of the first sculptors who had mercy on those of the public who desired to possess works. of art, but had no vast buildings in which to place them. MM. Dampt, Gardet, Cordier, S. Lauri, and Mme. Cazin the distinguished wife of the painter, have given some thought to the destination of their works ; and realize that the merit of a. piece of sculpture need not depend wholly upon its size. In wood and marble, in ivory and steel, M. Dampt has given. the world delicious studies of children, statuettes of ” Cavaliers. Marocains,” or the ” Fée Mélusine,” as well as his statue of ” Saint Jean enfant,” and ” Le Baiser de L’Aïeule,” which are in the Luxembourg.
RODIN, AUGUSTE, O.’ (b. Paris, 1840).-With M. Rodin we arrive at the last word of modernitéthe sculptor whose name is the watchword of a large section of the advanced theorists in Art ; and who, whether we like his work or not,, is undoubtedly a great artistone of the strongest and most original personalities of the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
M. Rodin has led that reaction in sculpture, of which I have already spoken, against the abuse of the positivist doctrine. When Art renounces all pretentions to spirituality,. and grows merely material, as the eminent authority M. Roger Marx has so well pointed out, regeneration becomes. a necessity. And a master is needed who can give a new soul to Artwho is not the slave but the master, of form.. ” It will be M. Auguste Rodin’s glory to have possessed this. ” power, and created in conformity with the genius of the. ” race a work of exceptional significance.”
There is certainly no lack of realism in M. Rodin’s work. Nothing could be more terribly, more distressingly realistic, than the wasted figure of ” La Vieille Heaulmière “. But even in this, it is the psychologie idea of decrepitude which is yet more present than the horrible reality. And in his greatest work, the processional monument in commemoration of the devotion of the ” Bourgeois de Calais,” the character, the spirit, the inner being of Eustache de Saint Pierre and his fellow citizens is what M. Rodin has rendered for us in such striking form, as ” les chefs nus, les pieds ” dêchaux, la hart au col, les clefs de la cite’ et du chastel entre les ” mains,” they wind slowly and sadly along the way from their town to the conqueror’s camp.
A pupil of Barye and of Carrier-Belleuse, M. Rodin’s first works in the Salon were portrait busts in 1875. Among his finest are those of M. Dalou the sculptor, M.M. Antonin Proust, Puvis de Chavannes, and J. P. Laurens. His colossal statue of Balzac in the Salon of 1898, threw the world of art into a condition bordering on frenzy. As every one holds a different opinion about this remarkable work, it is needless to attempt to express yet another on what might be described as an impression in marble.
Examples in Luxembourg :
Saint Jean Baptiste prêchant, 1881. 523.
Tête de femme, 1888. 524.
Danaïde, 1890. 525.
La Vielle Heaulmière, 1890. 526.
L’homme s’éveillant h la vie, Jardin du Luxembourg.
Les Bourgeois de Calais, Ville de Calais.
Victor Hugo, Ville de Paris.
M. Antonin Proust, Collection of M. A. Proust.
M. André Theuriet, M. Dalou, M. Puvis de Chavannes, etc.
BARTHOLOMÉ, ALBERT, The original, beautiful, and profoundly touching work of this young artist, is a fitting close to the noble efforts of the sculptors of the nineteenth century. M. Bartholomé is his own pupil. After a short sojourn in one of the studios of design at the École des Beaux Arts, M. Bartholomé gave himself up to solitary study of the art of sculpture. M. Gonse, in a sympathetic notice, points out that he is a fervent disciple of the middle ages in his devotion to stone, ” that natural and truly national material “. He can handle bronze as well, as may be seen in the beautiful ” Petite fille pleurant ” in the Luxembourgher little body convulsed with sobs. But though he is a master of technique and composition, it is as an imaginative artist of the highest order that he takes rank.
It is no secret that a terrible sorrowthe loss of a beloved wifeturned M. Bartholomé’s thoughts to funeral sculpture, and a beautiful and dramatic tomb at Bouillant, near Crépy en Valois. And these ideas have ended by possessing his whole beingleading him on to the execution of a work of extraordinary grandeur and significance” Le Monument des Morts “which is to be placed on the hillside facing the entrance of Père Lachaise. The future statethe immortality of the souleternal peace in the mysteries of death and resurrectionsuch are the problems which M. Bartholomé treats with a noble and touching simplicity and elevation.
” I have read,” says M. Roger Marx, ” that the execution ” denoted more delicacy than power, that one found in it ” fewer morceaux than psychologie definitions ; these objections were foreseen ; for the most part they disguise the ” vexation caused to the materialists by a work which owes ” its grandeur and its charm more to inspiration than to mere ” workmanship.”
” The edifice is architecturally related to the Egyptian ” Temple. The bas reliefs on its façade develop theories of ” ` pleureurs ‘ approaching each other ; they meet at the ” entrance of the vault : on the right, men, women and ” children are scattered against the wall, prostrate, tottering, ” advancing slowly to postpone their entry of the formidable portal ; on the other side, massed into a compact group, ” sitting, crouching, stooping, disconsolate beings murmur ” words of farewell, exchange last embraces, hide their faces, ” or turn them aside, for, as La Rochefoucauld says, the sun ” and death cannot be regarded steadily ; there are nought ” but despairing gestures, disquietude and moaning, sobs and ” supplication. And think upon the vanity of all this ” anguish ! One couple has crossed the threshold, has ” entered the night of mystery ; the illimitable way opens ” before themand to travel it the woman leans on her ” lover’s shoulder, confident in the renewal of existence, for ” she now knows that the promise of faith is not vain.” Below, a winged genius lifting the stone of the tomb, allows the light to shine upon those who sleep so peace-fully in the land of shadows.
It is not to commemorate one person, one century, one racethis great Monument of the Deadbut to serve as a memorial to all gentle and simple, statesmen and Communard alike, known and unknown, the young and the old, who have travelled the unknown road.
And thus, with a work of pure and lofty imagination, with a return to the faith of the earlier ages, the record of French Sculpture in the nineteenth century ends.