Dalou’s Portraits of Womanhood

Yale Shows Rare Collection By French Sculptor Jules Dalou
By Roger Catlin | Hartford Courant June 11, 2009

France is often seen as the place artists go to find freedom. But in that era, Dalou had to flee the country because of his association with the leftist Paris Commune. He escaped to an unsung country for artistic (and political) freedom — England, where, not knowing the language, he stayed mostly to himself and his French expat hosts and produced a remarkable series of sculptures, largely of seated women.

The Yale Center for British Art has organized a rare collection of five of those sculptures, which opens today. It is titled “Dalou in England: Portraits of Womanhood, 1871-1879.”



2 responses to “Dalou’s Portraits of Womanhood

  1. Having attended this ‘exhibition’ (a mere five works displayed hardly constitutes this term) I was left a little unsurprised.

  2. Having attended this ‘exhibition’ (a mere five works displayed hardly warrants this term) in Leeds, England, I was left a little unsurprised by the lack of new scholarship. The fact is Dalou’s exile is vastly under-researched and more often than not the same mistakes and assumptions are made.
    I myself have been researching Dalou’s since 2005 and have all but remedied at least some of the sketchy areas concerning his nine year stay in England.
    One such mistake regards Cantoni, the alleged founder of the Howard bronze. If the author had worked out the maths concerning Cantoni’s age at the time of the stattuettes commission she would have no doubt rectified this tedious and often reiterated ‘fact’.
    Secondly it pains me when art historians feel the need to apply post modern feminist approaches to otherwise remote periods in history. In subjective terms, it bastardises such objects from the very era in which they were concieved: see the grandfather of sociology, Vico, who taught us that history can never be known, only assumed.
    On a positive note it was great to see such works diplayed albeit if there was little if nothing new to say.

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