Aime-Jules Dalou (1838 - French 1902)

Dalou was born in Paris on December 31st, 1838, he died on the same day on April 15, 1902. He studied under Carpeaux and Duret combining the richness and vivacity of the former with the academic purity and scholarship of the laffei and became one of the most versatile and outstanding French sculptors of the 19th century.

He was vehemently opposed to the monumental classicism which dominated sculpture under the Second Empire and, along with other artists of a kindred spirit, boycotted the official Salon from 1801 onwards, exhibiting instead at the so-called Salon des Refuses.

He took an active part in the Paris Commune and fled to England after the collapse of the revolution. He worked in London from 1871 when he was amnestied by The French Republic.

During his period in England he taught sculpture at South Kensington and influenced the trend in English sculpture of the late 19th century towards greater humanism and a penchant for naturalism in domestic subjects. His French Peasant Woman belongs to this period, it was later edited in bronze and erected, under the guise of Maternity outside the Royal Exchange in London.

Following his return to Paris he secured many public commissions, the greatest of which was his Triumph of the Republic, on which he worked for twenty years. Ironically this highly elaborate group, in The Place de la Nation, is redolent of the florid symbolism which characterised sculpture in the reign of Louis XIV and was at variance with Dalou’s eariier work. His last work was the monument to Leon Gambeffa for the town of Bordeaux (1901) and it likewise embodied all the symbolic grandeur of an earlier epoch.

By the end of the century the rebel of earlier years had become the very keystone of the Establishment an Officier of the Legion of Honour and winner of the medal of honour and the Grand Prix at the Expostlion Universelle of 1889. He was a founder member of The Société Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1890.

His work covered a very wide range of sculpture and includes bas reliefs and friezes, monuments and statuary in marble, stone and plaster. Many of the maquettes and individual figures of groups from these monuments were also edited as bronzes. His projected Monument aux Ouvriers (incomplete at the time of his death) was utilised by the bronze founders Hebrard and Susse who beiween them cast limited editions from 107 different terracotta figures illustrating the working classes of France. He also produced numerous bronze statues and busts of contemporary personalities, such as Blanqui, Victor Noi~ Lavoisier Charcot Loze, Albert Wolff and Floquet neo-dassical groups, such as Nessus lilling up Deianeira, the Guardian Angel, and genrefigures, such asThe Embrace, The Rocking Chaii The Bather and Head of a Sleeping Child.

Aime-Jules Dalou - Standing Workman, c.1890
Standing Workman, c.1890
Aime-Jules Dalou - Worker Sowing Seeds, circa 1910
Worker Sowing Seeds, circa 1910
Aime-Jules Dalou - Nude Woman, c. 1890
Nude Woman, c. 1890