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IMAGE Jules Dalou was born in Paris in 1838. At the age of 14 he entered the Petite Ecole, where he was a contemporary of Auguste Rodin. From the age of 16 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Francisque Joseph Duret and Albe de Poujol. He was at this time influenced by the various styles, both classical and Baroque, of Francois Girardon, Antoine Coysevox, and other French sculptors of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. His own style, when it was consolidated, was, however, realistic.


After being implicated in the Paris Commune in 1871, Dalou's left-wing convictions forced him to take refuge in London. From 1871 until he returned to France in 1879, Dalou exhibited with the Royal Academy in London. He found patrons among the English aristocracy and was appointed to the staff of the City and Guilds Art School. He became friendly with the French-born painter, etcher, and teacher, Alphonse Legros, of whom he made a portrait sculptor. Legros helped him to obtain a teaching position at the Royal College of Art, from which he held sway over the development of English sculpture. Alfred Gilbert, the sculptor of Eros in Picadilly Circus, was one of his pupils.

While in England, Dalou produced an interesting series of terracotta statuettes and groups. In 1877 he was given the commission for a marble group entitled Charity, to stand over a drinking fountain near the Royal Exchange in London. Although he finished this in the summer of the same year, it was not put into place until 1879. But perhaps his most celebrated, certainly his most copied, sculpture was The French Peasant Woman, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1873.

Back in France in 1879, Dalou executed a number of public monuments and busts. The vast Triumph of the Republic, 1879-99, and The Procession of Silenus, 1885, were set up in Paris in the Luxembourg Gardens. During the latter part of his career Dalou's earlier realism was modified toward the Baroque in which he had always been interested. He was a prize winner at the Paris World Exhibition of 1889 and became an officer of the Legion of Honour in the same year. He was also a founder of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the first president of its sculpture section. He died in Paris in 1902, leaving unfinished a grandiose design for a Monument to the Working Class.




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