Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (11 May 1827 – 12 October 1875) was a French sculptor and painter during the Second Empire under Napoleon III.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Illustration of Carpeaux by Étienne Bocourt in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, after his death. His Flore is below him, and Imperial France protecting Agriculture and Sciences above
Born11 May 1827
Died12 October 1875 (aged 48)
Bécon-les-Bruyères (Courbevoie), France
Known forSculpture, painting
Notable work
La Fontaine des quatre parties due monde
Triomphe de Flore
Le Génie de la Danse
Le Pécheur napolitain
La Frileuse
Patron(s)Jean-Baptiste Foucart


Born in Valenciennes, Nord, son of a mason, his early studies were under François Rude.[1] Carpeaux entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1844 and won the Prix de Rome in 1854, and moving to Rome to find inspiration, he there studied the works of Michelangelo, Donatello and Verrocchio. Staying in Rome from 1854 to 1861, he obtained a taste for movement and spontaneity, which he joined with the great principles of baroque art. Carpeaux sought real life subjects in the streets and broke with the classical tradition.

Carpeaux debuted at the Salon in 1853 exhibiting La Soumission d'Abd-el-Kader al'Empereur, a bas-relief in plaster that did not attract much attention. Carpeaux was an admirer of Napoléon III and followed him from city to city during Napoléon's official trip through the north of France. After initially not making any contact with the emperor, he finally succeeded in arranging a face-to-face encounter at Amiens where he managed to convince Napoléon to commission a marble statue that was to be carried out by a practitioner, Charles Romain Capellaro.[1]

Carpeaux soon grew tired of academicism and became a wanderer on the streets of Rome. He spent free time admiring the frescoes of Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel. Carpeaux said, "When an artist feels pale and cold, he runs to Michelangelo in order to warm himself, as with the rays of the sun".[1]

While a student in Rome, Carpeaux submitted a plaster version of Pêcheur napolitain à la coquille, the Neapolitan Fisherboy, to the French Academy. He carved the marble version several years later, showing it in the Salon exhibition of 1863. It was purchased for Napoleon III's empress, Eugénie. The statue of the young smiling boy was very popular, and Carpeaux created a number of reproductions and variations in marble and bronze. There is a copy, for instance, in the Samuel H. Kress Collection in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Some years later, he carved the Girl with a Shell, a similar study.

In 1861, he made a bust of Princess Mathilde, and this later brought him several commissions from Napoleon III. Then in 1866, he established his own atelier in order to reproduce and make work on a grander scale. In 1866, he was awarded the chevalier of the Legion of Honour.[2]

He employed his brother as the sales manager and made a calculated effort to produce work that would appeal to a larger audience.[3] On 12 October 1875, he died at George Barbu Știrbei's château in Bécon-les-Bruyères, outside Courbevoie.[2]

Among his students were Jules Dalou, Jean-Louis Forain and the American sculptor Olin Levi Warner.



Valenciennes - Cimetière des Prix de Rome - Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (2)

Bust of Carpeaux Saint Roch Cemetery


The Seasons turning the celestial Sphere for the Fountain of the Observatory, Jardin du Luxembourg

Carpeaux Negress 01

Why be born a slave? 1868, National Museum in Warsaw

Carpeaux Valenciennes 080810 26 Ville

Patinated plaster model for Valenciennes defending the arts of peace with the arts of war

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux La Danse

La Danse (The Dance), for the Opera Garnier, heavily criticized as being indecent

Ugolino and His Sons MET DP247545

Ugolino and His Sons, 1857–60. Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Triomphe de Flore Pavillon de Flore Louvre

Le Triomphe de Flore (The Triumph of Flora). South façade of the Pavillon de Flore, Louvre Palace, Paris


External video
The Dance by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, 1873 -detail
Carpeaux's Dance,[7] Smarthistory[8]
  1. ^ a b c Kjellberg, Pierre (1994). Bronzes of the 19th Century (First ed.). Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. p. 174. ISBN 0-88740-629-7.
  2. ^ a b Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carpeaux, Jean Baptiste" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Frusco, Peter, Janson, H.W., The Romantics to Rodin, George Braziller, Inc., 1980
  4. ^ "Ugolin et ses fils". Archived from the original on 23 May 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  5. ^ "Pêcheur à la coquille". Archived from the original on 23 May 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  6. ^ See the article by Elizabeth McGrath in The Slave in European Art: From Renaissance Trophy to Abolitionist Emblem, ed Elizabeth Mcgrath and Jean Michel Massing, London (The Warburg Institute) 2012
  7. ^ "Carpeaux's Dance". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Carpeaux's Dance". Smarthistory at Khan Academy. Retrieved February 23, 2013.

External links

1875 in France

Events from the year 1875 in France.

Anne Wagner

Anne Middleton Wagner, often known as Anne Wagner, is an art historian. Class of 1936 Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, she is now based in London, where in 2013–14 she was Visiting Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Bruno Chérier

Bruno Joseph Chérier (10 August 1817 – 24 October 1880) was a French decorative painter. Born in Valenciennes, he studied under Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, for whom he also modelled. He died in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.

Charles Gumery

Charles-Alphonse-Achille Guméry (14 June 1827 – 19 January 1871) was a French sculptor working in an academic realist manner in Paris. Several of his figures ornament the Opéra Garnier most notoriously the group La Danse, which was commissioned from him after the group by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux was found unacceptable.

Though he was born in the quartier of Vaugirard in Paris, Charles Guméry was from a middle-class Savoyard family established by his father at Passy.His father, Nicolas Guméry, was a schoolteacher.A student of Armand Toussaint (1806–1862) at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, in 1850 he received the Prix de Rome, the sine qua non for an official career as a French sculptor. He became a prominent sculptor of the Second Empire, who was awarded the Legion d'Honneur, 29 June 1867.

When, on the morning of 29 August 1869 it was discovered that ink had been thrown over Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux' marble La Danse in the façade of the Opéra Garnier, it was thought to have been a scandalized gesture by a member of the public because of the nudity of Carpeaux' figures. Charles Garnier, who had already commissioned from Gumery two gilded groups for the cornice of the Palais Garnier, asked Gumery to sculpt a replacement figure of La Danse to replace the disfigured Carpeaux group. With the Franco-Prussian War of the following year, followed by the Paris Commune, during which Gumery died in Paris under obscure circumstances during the privations of the Siege of Paris, when many starved, and then the death of Carpeaux in 1875, the scandal was forgotten: the Carpeaux group remained in place and Gumery's La Danse is conserved in the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Angers.Gomery is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre, where his gravestone is surmounted by a bust sculpted by his pupil Jean Gautherin.

Ernest-Eugène Hiolle

Ernest-Eugène Hiolle (5 May 1834 – 5 October 1886) was a French sculptor who specialized in classical and allegorical figures in plaster and bronze, as well as many contemporary portrait busts.

Hiolle was born in Valenciennes, where he studied at the École Académique, before studying under François Jouffroy and Laurent Séverin Grandfils at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was runner up in the Prix de Rome of 1856 and in 1863 won the award. Exhibiting at the Salon from 1866, he won medals from 1867-1870. After 1870 he participated in the great public building projects of the French Third Republic with sculpture for the Palais Garnier, the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, and elsewhere. In 1873 he was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. At the salon of 1877 he exhibited bronze busts of Jouffroy and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, and at that of 1878 a bronze statue of General Maximilien Sebastien Foy. He also won a medal of honour at the Exposition Universelle (1878).

His students included Antonin Carlès.

Eugénie Fiocre

Eugénie Fiocre (b. Paris, 2 July 1845, d. 1908) was a principal dancer at the Paris Opéra 1864–75 where she often danced en travesti, creating Frantz in Coppélia in 1870, and, renowned for her beauty, was sculpted by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and painted by Degas in a scene from Saint-Léon's ballet La Source. She was married to Stanislas Le Compasseur de Créqui-Montfort Marquis de Courtivron and mother of explorer, anthropologist, diplomat and Olympian Georges de Crequi-Montfort.

Fontaine de l'Observatoire

The Fontaine de l'Observatoire is a monumental fountain located in the Jardin Marco Polo, south of the Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, with sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. It was dedicated in 1874. It is also known as the Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde, for the four parts of the world embodied by its female figures, or simply the Fontaine Carpeaux.

Francis de Saint-Vidal

Francis de Saint-Vidal (16 January 1840 – 18 August 1900) was a 19th-century French sculptor and medalist. He was a pupil of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.

Félix-Alexandre Desruelles

Félix-Alexandre Desruelles (1865–1943) was a French sculptor who was born in Valenciennes in 1865. He was runner up for the Prix de Rome in 1891, won the Prix national des Salons in 1897 and a Gold Medal at l'Éxposition Universelle in 1900. He died in La Flèche in 1943. He was a member of the Institut de France and of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Jean-Baptiste Bertrand

Jean-Baptiste Bertrand (25 March 1823 Lyon - 26 Sept 1887 Orsay, Seine-et-Oise), was a French painter and lithographer. At first he was a student of Étienne Rey (1789–1867) and later of Jean-Claude Bonnefond (1796–1860) at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyon from 1840 to 1843.

Alphonse P?rin (1798–1874) suggested that he move to Paris, where he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1844 and had his first Salon exhibition in 1857. He spent 11 years working with P?rin and his teacher and friend Victor Orsel, decorating the chapel of the Eucharist in the Paris Church of Notre Dame de Lorette and in 1854 started work on reproductions of work by Orsel.

Bertrand travelled in Italy between 1857 and 1862. Returning to Paris, he befriended sculptors such as Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Alexandre Falguière and Auguste Clésinger. Influenced by his sculptor contacts, Bertrand devoted himself from 1866 to allegories and genre scenes, departing from his early Nazarene style. These were heroic depictions of the great heroines of history and literature, as in the Death of Sappho (1867), the Death of Virginie (1869), the Death of Manon Lescaut (1870) and the Death of Ophelia (1872). These works became widely known and popular through engravings.

L'Amour à la folie

L'Amour à la folie (Love to madness) is an 1869 sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, part of the sculptural group La Danse for the Paris Opera Garnier, and commissioned architect Charles Garnier.

The Musee d'Orsay in Paris holds a terracotta edition (RF 2928), the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City holds both a terracotta and a bronze (Inv.° 274) and the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon holds an edition in marble (Inv.° 563).Henry James wrote of the sculpture group in The New York Tribune in 1875:

Carpeaux was made famous by the extraordinary group of La Danse, which he contributed to the decoration of the new Opera. Every visitor to Paris has gazed at it in mingled admiration and perplexity, and it is a work which, so long as it stands there, will be sure to have gazers enough. If the whole building is characteristic of its time and place, Carpeaux's group is its most characteristic feature.

La Danse (Carpeaux)

La Danse is an 1868 sculpture by the French artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. It was one of four sculptural groups made from Echaillon marble that decorate the façade of the Opera Garnier in Paris, two to either side of the entrance at ground level. The work was installed in 1869, and widely criticised as obscene. It was attacked in August 1869 when an anonymous vandal threw black ink over it. The scandal subsided after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, and the original statue remained on the façade at the opera until it was transferred to the Louvre Museum in 1964 and replaced by a copy. The original was moved to the Musée d'Orsay in 1986.

Carpeaux was commissioned by his friend Charles Garnier to make a group based on the dance of Bacchus. The sculpture comprises several human figures, for which Carpeaux made numerous sketches over three years, using actresses and dancers from the Palais-Royale as models. At the centre of the group, a garlanded young man with wings smiles as he holds aloft a tambourine while several women dance around him. It includes sculptural groups L'Amour à la folie. Carpeaux left out certain ideas, including a bacchante with lowered eyes (model held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York).Carpeaux completed a final model and the full-size statue in 1868, and it was unveiled at the Opera in July 1869. The unashamed nakedness of the figures, situated outdoors in full public view, provoked an immediate negative reaction, with some saying it would now be impossible for respectable women and girls to come to the Opera. The statue was attacked on the night of 27-28 August 1869, when black ink was thrown over the statue. The Opera considered moving the statue inside, but that was opposed by the corps de ballet. The scandal reached such a level Charles Gumery was commissioned to make a replacement (his gilded sculptures of L'Harmonie and La Poésie already crown the Opera's end pavilions). The issue was forgotten after the Franco-Prussian War broke out in July 1870, and Gumery died in Paris during the Siege of Paris. Carpeaux's work remained in place after his death in 1875, and Gumery's replacement is held by the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Angers.

A 42-inch bronze cast reproduction of Carpeaux's Genius of the Dance, the central figure of La Danse, was acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 1983 for the museum's French galleries.Carpeaux's original sculpture was moved to the Louvre Museum in 1964 to protect it from pollution, and it was replaced on the façade of the Opera Garnier by a copy made by Jean Juge. The original was moved to the Musée d'Orsay in 1986.

Louis-Ernest Barrias

Louis-Ernest Barrias (13 April 1841 – 4 February 1905) was a French sculptor of the Beaux-Arts school. In 1865 Barrias won the Prix de Rome for study at the French Academy in Rome.

Barrias was involved in the decoration of the Paris Opéra and the Hôtel de la Païva in the Champs-Élysées. His work was mostly in marble, in a Romantic realist style indebted to Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nice in Nice, France at 33 av. des Baumettes was built in the former private mansion built in 1878 by the Russian Princess, Elizaveta Vasilievna Kochubey. Named for the artist Jules Chéret who lived and worked in Nice during his final years, the museum opened as the "Palais des Arts Jules Chéret" on 7 January 1928.The museum houses a collection of art spanning the past four centuries. There are paintings by Chéret and other artists who lived and worked on the French Riviera, such as Alexis Mossa, and his son Gustav-Adolf Mossa, who for many years were curators of the museum. The small museum has sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, François Rude, Michel de Tarnowsky and Auguste Rodin, plus ceramic pieces by Pablo Picasso. Some of the paintings are from:

Marie Bashkirtseff

Pierre Bonnard

Jan Brueghel the Elder


Benjamin Constant

Kees van Dongen

Raoul Dufy

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Marie Laurencin

Luc-Olivier Merson

Claude Monet

Alfred Sisley

Édouard Vuillard

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes

The musée des beaux-arts de Valenciennes is a municipal museum in the French town of Valenciennes. Its collections originated as the collection of the Académie valenciennoise de peinture et de sculpture. It opened to the public for the first time in 1801 and was moved into the town hall in 1834.

A competition to design a new building was held at the end of the 19th century, won by Paul Dusart. The new building was opened on 27 June 1909 and in 1995 was totally renovated and the display space expanded, with the addition of a basement displaying archaeological remains and artefacts.

As well as paintings, it includes several sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827–1875), born in the town, as well as a prints and drawings department and

Napoleon III style

The Napoleon III style was a highly eclectic style of architecture and decorative arts, which used elements of many different historical styles,and also made innovative use of modern materials, such as iron frameworks and glass skylights. It flourished during the reign of Emperor Napoleon III in France (1852–1871) and had an important influence on architecture and decoration in the rest of Europe and the United States. Major examples of the style include the Opéra Garnier in Paris by Charles Garnier (1862–71), the Bibliothèque nationale de France. and the Church of Saint Augustine (1860–1871). The architectural style was closely connected with Haussmann's renovation of Paris carried out during the Second Empire; the new buildings, such as the opera, were intended as the focal points of the new boulevards.

The Negress

The Negress is a bronze sculpture by French artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. It is now in the permanent collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Ugolino and His Sons (Carpeaux)

Ugolino and His Sons is a marble sculpture of Ugolino made by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux in Paris during the 1860s. It depicts the story of Ugolino from Dante's Inferno in which the 13th century count is imprisoned and starving with his children. The work, known for its expressive detail, launched Carpeaux's career.

Ugolino and His Sons (Rodin)

Ugolino and his sons is a plaster sculpture by French artist Auguste Rodin, part of the sculptural group known as The Gates of Hell. As an independent piece, it was exhibited by its author in Brussels (1887), Edinburgh (1893), Genoa (1896), Florence (1897), Netherlands (1899) and in his own retrospective in 1900.

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