Louis Eugene Dejean (1872 - French 1953)

Louis Dejean was a member of the group known as “la Bande à Schnegg”, a loose association of sculptors composed essentially of Rodin’s studio assistants and centred around Lucien Schnegg (1864-1909). The term was coined by Louis Vauxcelles (the critic who more famously named the “fauves”) in his review of the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1913. The group’s first show, entitled “Certains”, was held in 1904 and included Schnegg, Dejean, Halou, Marque and Rodo. Around 1900, Dejean had begun to exhibit small decorative statuettes of feminine subjects in fashionable dress which were described as “modern Tanagra figurines”. At the 1904 Salon of the SNBA, he exhibited a patinated terracotta called La Parisienne or Dame au grand manteau which was commissioned in bronze by the Musée du Luxembourg (the cast is now with the Musée d’Orsay) and subsequently edited by the founder, Hébrard. Similar in inspiration to sculptures of elegant young women which Gaston Schnegg, Lucien’s brother, was producing at that time, they hark back to Carrier-Belleuse and Rodin’s early work under the influence of that master. New trends in figurative sculpture were emerging among Rodin’s assistants, however, the first of whom to assert his independence was Bourdelle in a style both architectural and monumental inspired by archaic Greek and Romanesque art.

Lucien Schnegg also looked back to ancient Greek models in a return to classicism which marked his reaction against Rodin’s expressionist realism. By 1906, Despiau and Wlérick, among others, had rallied to Schnegg’s group which was to continue exhibiting, despite his death in 1909, in 1910, 1913, 1929 and, finally, at Ruhlmann’s establishments in 1930. Louis Vauxcelles had added Pompon to the list of sculptors associated with Schnegg in 1919. Conspicuously absent from this list is Maillol, who most successfully developed the neo-Greek style towards which some of these artists evolved. Dejean participated in this trend, moving after the First World War away from his early genre subjects towards a more monumental neo-classicism. His first major commission after the War was for a commemorative monument to the fallen for the municipality of Saint Ouen. Dejean contributed with Janniot among others to the decorative programme for the luxury ocean-liner Normandie, launched in 1935, where his colossal bronze statue of La Normandie pacifique holding an olive-branch, patinated in green, dominated the Captain’s table at one end of the first class dining-room. A further prestigious commission followed for one of the four monumental reclining Muses in stone placed around the ornamental pool which leads down to the river Seine from the Palais de Tokyo, built 1935-1937 for the World’s Fair. Dejean had begun his career working for a stone-carver and as studio-assistant to Antonin Carlès and Rodin he had perfected his technique.
Louis Eugene Dejean - Torso of a Young Model, 1915
Torso of a Young Model, 1915