TitleOrigins of modernism in French romantic sculpture
NameQuideau, Florence (author), Sidlauskas, Susan (chair), Marter, Joan (internal member), Sharp, Jane (internal member), Sorel, Philippe (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Sculpture, Modern--19th century,
Sculpture, French--19th century,
Daumier, Honoré, 1808-1879--Criticism and interpretation,
David d'Angers, Pierre-Jean, 1788-1856--Criticism and interpretation,
Préault, Auguste, 1809-1879--Criticism and interpretation,
Dantan, Jean-Pierre, 1800-1869--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThis dissertation repositions the place of four Romantic artists within the current discussion of Modern sculpture. Today, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux has displaced Auguste Rodin’s paramount place as the first Modern sculptor. The dynamism, suppleness, truthful movements, appropriate gestures, and accuracy of Carpeaux’s sculptures are considered the epitome of Modernist sculpture. This analysis argues that the portrait-busts and sculpted caricatures of Jean-Pierre Dantan (called Dantan-Jeune), Pierre-Jean David (called David d’Angers), Auguste Préault, and Honoré Daumier exemplified audacious artistic changes made thirty years before Carpeaux. These four artists showed a distinct rejection of formal portraiture and the values of artistic decorum by creating an unprecedented avant-garde style of sculpture. They left purposely their sculpted portraits and caricatures with irregular surfaces, distorted facial features, exaggerated mops of hair, and used colorings, emphasized physiognomic and physiologic characteristics to overthrow Academic traditions of realistic and idealized beautification of sitters. They showed innovation through their use of the two "pseudo sciences", physiognomy and phrenology – the latter considered at the cutting edge of progress – resulting in sculpted portraits, which Salon art critics ridiculed as ugly, caricatural or grotesque. They also exemplified modernism by reversing the traditional making and purpose of sculpture. They subverted artistic expectations by making two-dimensional lithographs and albums based on their three-dimensional portraits and caricatures that were sold to a wide public. The serialization of their works in small-scale further democratized the art of sculpture. These examples show artistic and commercial innovations in the mass-market popularization of sculpted portraiture, which had been shunned by the public because of its repetitive and elitist nature. These four sculptors shattered artistic, political, social, and commercial expectations in the 1830s. Their sculpted portraits and caricatures attest to their modernity, which not only precede Carpeaux's but skip over his generation in a manner that points the way to French Expressionist sculpture of the late nineteenth century. In fact, these four sculptors far exceed Carpeaux’s modernism by showing a rare audacity and creativity that goes well beyond the expressivity of his oeuvre. David d’Angers, Dantan-Jeune, Daumier, and Préault anticipated many of the innovations of Carpeaux, acting as generators rather than simply “forefathers".
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Florence Quideau
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.