French, 1838-1902


Jules Dalou was born in Paris to a glove-maker and his wife. “When he was fourteen,” writes Marie Busco, “his skill in modeling was discovered by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, who encouraged him to enroll in the Petit Ecole. During his two years there he studied under the celebrated instructor Horace Lecoq de Boisbaudran and met other young artists such as Alphonse Legros and Henri Fantin-Latour. In 1854 Dalou entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and remained there for three years as a student of Francisque Duret although he disliked academic training. At his Salon debut in 1861 he exhibited a Roman Lady Playing Knucklebones… At the Salon of 1869 Dalou received praise from Théophile Gautier, among others, for his rococo-inspired group Daphnis and Chloe. But it was not until the following year, with the exhibition of a life-size plaster figure Woman Embroidering, that he achieved a truly personal, new approach. For the first time a contemporary domestic scene was depicted on a large scale. This work earned him a third-class medal and considerable acclaim. Both this sculpture and the Daphnis and Chloe were purchased by the State, which supplied Dalou with marble blocks to carve them.

“In 1871 Dalou's Republican, left-wing sentiments led him to participate in Communard activities. After the Versailles troops recaptured Paris, he fled with his family in fear of reprisals and went into exile in London, where he remained for several years. His intimate, maternal genre subjects soon attracted distinguished patrons such as the Duke of Westminster and Lord Carlisle, and won him important commissions, notably the Monument to the Grandchildren of Queen Victoria (terracotta, Windsor Castle, Royal Chapel) and a life-size figure of Charity for a fountain behind the Royal Exchange in London. Throughout his exile, Dalou exhibited at the Royal Academy… Dalou returned to Paris in May 1879, when general amnesty was declared. At that time he entered a competition sponsored by the city of Paris for a statue of the Republic. Although he did not win the commission, his entry was so admired that the jury permitted him to design a monument for the Place de la Nation… The completed monument, unveiled in 1899, represents an ingenious blending of naturalism and traditional allegory, and remains Dalou's masterpiece.

“Throughout the 1880's and 1890's Dalou was involved with many major projects that reflected his personal socio-political ideology. At the Salon of 1883 he exhibited the plaster models for two large reliefs, Mirabeau Answering Dreux-Breze (bronze, Palais Bourbon) and Fraternity (marble, Petit Palais), which won him various awards, including the Legion of Honor… The sculptor was in constant demand to produce public monuments including those raised in Paris to Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (1886-88), Eugène Delacroix (1887-90), Alphonse Alphand (1899) and Auguste Scheurer-Kestner (1908)… After his death, the contents of his studio were bequeathed to the Orpheliat des Arts, the institution that cared for his mentally impaired daughter. The orphanage retained reproduction rights, but sold the 327 sculptures to the city of Paris in 1905. The collection is today housed in the Petit Palais, Paris.”

[Marie Busco, ed., Nineteenth Century French and Western European Sculpture: Spring Exhibition, Shepherd Gallery, New York, 1985, pp. 178-9]

Museum and Public Collections:
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Dahesh Museum, New York, NY
Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, Paris
Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris
Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Musée d’Art et d’Archéologie du Périgord, Périgueux
Musée Bonnat, Bayonne
Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
Musée Rodin, Paris
National Museum of Serbia, Belgrade
Palais Bourbon, Paris
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Musée du Petit Palais, Paris
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Place de la Nation, Paris
Place du Château d’Eau, Paris
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Royal Chapel, Windsor Castle, Windsor
Royal Exchange, London
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh
La Sorbonne, Paris
Tate Britain, London
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Mark Murray Fine Paintings is a New York gallery specializing in buying and selling 19th century and early 20th century artwork. 

Please contact us if you are interested in selling your Aimé Jules Dalou sculptures or other artwork from the 19th century and early 20th century.