Obituary for M. Jules Dalou, one of greatest sculptors of our time
M. Jules Dalou
We greatly regret to have to record the death of M. Jules Dalou, one of the greatest sculptors of our time, at the comparatively early age of 63, as the result of a long and painful heart disease.
Born of humble parents of the artisan class, Dalou had studied successively under Abel de Pujol, Duret, and Carpeaux. He entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1854, and made his first appearance at the Salon in 1861, with a statuette, "Dame Romaine Jouant aux Oselets." In 1870 his plaster statue, "Brodeuse," attracted attention. Having accepted during the Commune a post in the Louvre Museum—where he assisted in preserving its contents from injury—be was obliged to fly in 1871, and took refuge in England, where, thanks to the Duke of Westminster's influence, be obtained a professional position at South Kensington.
After the armistice he returned to France, and in 1879 took part in the competition for the monument, "Triomphe de la Repubdlique," proposed to be erected on the Place de la Republique. His admirable sketch design failed to convince the jury, who gave the preference to another design; but the Municipal Council of Paris somewhat repaired that injustice by commissioning Dalou to carry out his desiga on the Piace de la Nation, where it was completed and formally inaugurated in 1899. Two or three illustrations of it, from different points of view, have appeared in The Builder Heritage Journal at difierent times, the best being that which appeared in our issue of December 9, 1809, from a photograph taken just after the work had been completed.
Among Dalou's other works may be mentioned the alto-relief in the Freach Chamber of Deputies, repretentiog Mirabeau's altercation with de Brèzé; the "Triumph of Silenus," which is now in the garden of the Luxembourg; the vigorous and remarkable monument to Delacroix, also in the Luxembourg garden; the monuments to Victor Noir and to Blangui, in Pere Lachaise Cemetery; the monument to Alphand, in the Avenue de Hois de Boulogne; the fine bas-relief "A la Gloire de la République," purchased by the Paris Municipality and which will be placed in the Petit Palais; the "Mere allaitant son Enfant" a terra cotta exhibited at the Royal Academy, where it attracted great attention as a sculptural treatment of a domestic subject; and numerous busts all characterised by an admirable intensity of character and expression.
Dalou, who was a "Commandeur" in the Legion of Honour, was also one of the founders of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (the "New Salon"), along with Meissonier and Pavis de Chavannes; and at the time when his illness obliged him to cease working, he was completing the monument to Gambetta which was to be inaugurated at Bordeaux. A further comment on the qualities of his art will be found in our Journal News section.