Musée d'Orsay: Sculpture


La Nature se dévoilant [Nature Unveiling Herself]
Ernest Barrias
Nature Unveiling Herself

The statue was commissioned in 1889 to decorate the new medical school in Bordeaux. A young woman, the allegory of nature, is slowly lifting the veils she is...
Les Nubiens dit aussi Les chasseurs d'Alligators [The Nubians also called The Alligator Hunters]
Ernest Barrias
The Alligator Hunters

Like Jules Coutan's Eagle Hunt on the reverse, this high relief was designed for the façade of the anthropology gallery in the Museum d'Histoire Naturelle,...
Le Bon Samaritain [The Good Samaritan]
Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi
The Good Samaritan

Small works of this kind are rare in Bartholdi's work as he preferred colossal sculptures, and was mainly famous for his Statue of Liberty, given to the...
Liberté [Liberty]
Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi

A gift from the French people to the American people for the 100th anniversary of American Independence in 1876, the colossal Statue of Liberty, has become...
Petite fille pleurant [Weeping Girl]
Albert Bartholomé
Weeping Girl

Albert Bartholomé started his career as a painter and turned to sculpture after the death of his wife, when he set about making a monument for her tomb. He...
Tadamasa Hayashi
Albert Bartholomé
Tadamasa Hayashi

Tadamasa Hayashi (1853-1906) was one of the first ambassadors of Japanese culture in France. He arrived in Paris in 1878 to interpret for the art dealer and...
Napoléon Ier en empereur romain [Napoleon I as a Roman Emperor]
Antoine-Louis Barye
Napoleon I as a Roman Emperor

Barye had studied the animals in the Jardin des Plantes and in the comparative anatomy laboratory in the Natural History Museum in the company of Delacroix....
Lion assis [Seated Lion]
Antoine-Louis Barye
Seated Lion

In 1846, Louis-Philippe commissioned Barye to produce a pendant for a statue in the Tuileries Gardens, Lion with a Snake. The two statues stayed in the...
L'Effort vers la nature [Straining Towards Nature]
Joseph Bernard
Straining Towards Nature

Joseph Bernard came from a family of stone hewers; a grant enabled him to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Lyon (1881) then at the fine art school in...
Porteuse d'eau or Jeune fille à la cruche [Water Carrier or Girl with a Jug]
Joseph Bernard
Water Carrier

In the early 20th century, Bernard produced several detached statues that seem utterly simple. They are large female nudes made from stone, marble or bronze....
Le Sphinx [The Sphinx]
Boleslas Biegas
The Sphinx

The Polish sculptor Boleslas Biegas settled in Paris where he exhibited bizarre sculptures which were highly successful in the opening years of the 20th...
Le berceau [The Cradle]
Leonardo Bistolfi
The Cradle

Attracted by symbolism with a spiritual tinge, Bistolfi spent much of his career designing funerary monuments expressing the anguish of death and the mystery...
Héraklès tue les oiseaux du lac Stymphale [Hercules Killing the Birds of Lake Stymphalis]
Emile-Antoine Bourdelle
Hercules the Archer

Trained first in Montauban and then in Toulouse, Bourdelle started work as an assistant in Rodin's studio. The two men were bound together by mutual...
Ludwig van Beethoven
Emile-Antoine Bourdelle
Ludwig van Beethoven

As the incarnation of romantic genius, Beethoven inspired numerous artists. Legend has it that Bourdelle as a young man, leafing through a book on the...
Tête d'Apollon [Head of Apollo]
Antoine Bourdelle
Head of Apollo

This Head of Apollo is the result of a study that Bourdelle started in 1900 when he was still employed as an assistant to Rodin. At that time, Bourdelle was...
Panthère marchant [Walking Panther]
Rembrandt Bugatti
Walking Panther

Rembrandt Bugatti is the son of the famous Italian furniture designer, Carlo Bugatti, and the brother of the automobile manufacturer Ettore Bugatti. He was a...
La Critique artistique [Art Criticism]
François-Rupert Carabin
Art Criticism

This wax humorously evokes the links between creation and criticism in the second half of the 19th century in the form of an allegory. With her back arched,...
Le Prince impérial et son chien Néro [The Crown Prince and his Dog Nero]
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
The Crown Prince and his Dog Nero

The only son of the emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie de Montijo, here about eight, is shown with the Emperor's dog.As his drawing tutor, the...
Les quatre parties du monde soutenant la sphère céleste [The Four Parts of the World Holding the Celestial Sphere]
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
The Four Parts of the World

Baron Haussmann, the prefect of Paris who gave the city the face we know today, commissioned Carpeaux to design a fountain for the Observatoire Garden in...
Eugénie Fiocre
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
Eugénie Fiocre

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux has done justice to the ravishing beauty and pert snub-nosed face of Eugénie Fiocre, a dancer at the Opera. About the same time, the...
Ugolin [Ugolino]
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Carpeaux found inspiration in Canto XXXIII of Dante's Divine Comedy which describes the encounter in Hell between the writer, led by Virgil, and Ugolino della...
La Danse [Dance]
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

In 1863, Charles Garnier, the architect of the new Paris Opera, commissioned four sculpted groups by four artists who had won the Grand Prix de Rome to...
Sapho [Sappho]
Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Although Carpeaux' liveliness is found in his letters and drawings, it is most vividly expressed in his plaster models. Pensive figures, such as this plaster...
Le mineur de la Loire also called Le mineur [Miner from the Loire, also called the Miner]
Jean Carriès
Miner from the Loire

The Miner forcefully incarnates an unexpected aspect of Carriès' sculpture. The figure modelled in wax over a plaster "core" probably represents a coalman,...
Faune [Faun]
Jean Carriès

Born into a modest family in Lyon in 1855, Jean-Joseph Carriès was an unusual sculptor, highly admired in the late 19th century, who died in Paris in 1894....
Torchères [Candelabra]
Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse

In the 19th century, there were few sculptors who, like Carrier-Belluse, devoted a significant part of their careers to what was then known as "decorative...
Hebe et l'aigle de Jupiter [Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter]
Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse
Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter

In Greek and Roman mythology, Hebe, the daughter of Jupiter and Juno, was the goddess of youth and cupbearer of the gods, whose role was to serve their...
Cornélie, mère des Gracques [Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi]
Jules Cavelier
Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi

This rigidly symmetrical circular group stages heroes from Antiquity : Caïus and Tiberus Gracchus and Cornelia, their mother. The pyramidal construction and...
Penelope also known as Penelope Asleep
Jules Cavelier

With this sculpture, Cavelier, awarded the Prix de Rome in 1842, depicts a central narrative of Homer's Odyssey: during Odysseus' twenty year absence,...
Jeanne d'Arc à Domrémy [Joan of Arc at Domrémy]
Henri Chapu
Joan of Arc at Domrémy

19th-century France was fascinated by the figure of Joan of Arc, an historical, mythified heroine who figured in the readily anti-British nationalist movement...
Louis Welden Hawkins
Alexandre Charpentier
Louis Welden Hawkins

During the symbolist period masks were extremely popular, especially in sculpture. Charpentier produced at least three between 1893 and 1894. These were...
Jeune mère allaitant son enfant [Young Mother nursing]
Alexandre Charpentier
Young Mother nursing

This relief made Charpentier famous. In 1883, he exhibited it in plaster at the Salon for French artists, captivating the critics and official authorities....
Tailleurs de pierre - Maçons dit aussi La Pierre [Stone cutters - Masons also known as Stone]
Alexandre Charpentier
Stone cutters - Masons

These later reliefs echo comments by Charpentier himself to Edmond de Goncourt in 1894: "He wanted to become a sculptor, and, at the time, had an image of a...
L'Age mûr [Maturity]
Camille Claudel

After the break between Camille Claudel and Rodin, the latter tried to help Claudel indirectly and obtained a state commission for her from the Director...
Femme piquée par un serpent [Woman Bitten by a Snake]
Auguste Clésinger
Woman Bitten by a Snake

This statue, along with Thomas Couture's painting The Romans of the Decadence, was the cynosure of the 1847 Salon, scandalising the public and the critics...
Homme du Soudan [Man from the Sudan]
Charles Cordier
Man from the Sudan

In 1847, Charles Cordier was struck by the beauty of an African model, a former slave, and made his portrait. He then decided to devote his career as a...
Prix du Tournoi [Tournament Prize]
Henri Cros
Tournament Prize

In the early part of his career, Henri Cros made highly refined wax sculptures. The wax was bulk dyed then painted and decorated with beads. Cros's...
Jeannine Dumas
Henry Cros
Jeannine Dumas

In the work of Henri Cros, brother of the poet Charles Cros, portraits of his contemporaries are far less common than fantasy portraits or retrospective...
Femme nue lisant dans un fauteuil [Nude Woman Reading in an Armchair]
Aimé-Jules Dalou
Nude Woman Reading

Dalou's statuettes of women are less well-known than his workers. Yet he inaugurated this genre with Woman Embroidering at the Salon in 1870 and continued...
Grand paysan [Large Peasant]
Aimé-Jules Dalou
Large Peasant

From 1889 onwards, Jules Dalou began to conceive a 'Monument to Workers'. Through visiting farms, mines and factories his artistic studies multiplied, both...
Honoré Daumier

Between March 1850 and December 1851, in Le Charivari, Daumier published about thirty lithographs illustrating a character representing "the shady agent, the...
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
David d'Angers
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

With Rude and Préault, David was part of a triad which dominated Romantic sculpture throughout the first half of the 19th century. He was above all the great...
Petite danseuse de 14 ans [Small Dancer Aged 14]
Edgar Degas
Small Dancer Aged 14

When Degas died in 1917, 150 wax or clay sculptures were found in his studio. These statues had remained more or less unknown to the public while the...
Le tub [The Tub]
Edgar Degas
The Tub

Nearly a quarter of the subjects sculpted by Degas show women at their toilet. Here, the painter of modern life has taken a fresh look at a bathing scene,...
Cheval arrêté [Standing Horse]
Edgar Degas
Standing Horse

Degas was such a perfectionist that the poet Mallarmé nicknamed him "the rigorous one"; he lived for drawing, was passionately interested in photography and...
L'écolière [Schoolgirl]
Edgar Degas

When Degas died on 27 September 1917, his heirs entrusted the inventory of his works to the renowned art dealers Durand-Ruel and Vollard. According to...
Vierge au lys [Virgin with a Lily]
Eugène Delaplanche
Virgin with a Lily

Gentleness is the prevailing feature in Delaplanche's Virgin with a Lily: the slight sway of the body lightly resting on the left leg, the ample mantle...
Torse d'homme [Male Torso]
Jules Desbois
Male Torso

Desbois worked with Rodin from 1884 to 1914. Following the path marked out for him by Rodin with She who was La Belle Heaulmière (1887) and by Camille...
La misère [Destitution]
Jules Desbois

Destitution, is an exceptional piece, whose naturalistic realisation of an emaciated old woman clothed in rags, in conforming to the traditional iconography...
Spirit of the Night
Sir Alfred Drury
Spirit of the Night

The late 19th century was a golden age for English sculpture, with a movement known as "The New Sculpture".The French sculptor Jules Dalou, who had taken...
Chanteur florentin du XVe siècle [A Fifteenth-Century Florentine Singer]
Paul Dubois
A Florentine Singer

Strongly influenced by his stay in Italy, Paul Dubois enjoyed great success from the outset with refined works inspired by the Italian Renaissance. In this...
La Douleur [Sorrow]
Jean Escoula

Jean Escoula worked as an assistant carver for two of the greatest sculptors of the 19th century, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and Auguste Rodin, while following...
Tarcisius, martyr chrétien [Tarcisius, Christian Martyr]
Alexandre Falguière
Tarcisius, Christian Martyr

Falguière became famous in 1864, when he presented his Winner of the Cock Fight (Musée d'Orsay) at the Salon. Four years later, the warm reception given to...
Pierre-Félix Fix-Masseau

Fix-Masseau, the director of the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Limoges until 1935, was part of the modern decorative art movement in the late 19th century. He...
Saint Michel terrassant le dragon [St Michael Slaying the Dragon]
Emmanuel Fremiet
St Michael Slaying the Dragon

In 1894, Fremiet was chosen to design the statue to crown the spire of the abbey of Mont Saint Michel. He had been famous as a sculptor since his Joan of Arc...
Emmanuel Fremiet

As a general rule Fremiet's sculptures are straightforward and descriptive following an aesthetic based on scientific exactitude. Nevertheless the sculptor...
Soyez mystérieuses [Be mysterious]
Paul Gauguin
Be mysterious

This back, one of the most beautiful backs in sculpture, carved by Gauguin from a piece of lime wood, conjures up the body of a Tahitian women, the colour of...
Idole à la coquille [Idol with a Shell]
Paul Gauguin
Idol with a Shell

Gauguin took his chisels with him to Oceania. Disappointed that authentic art objects were no longer to be found, he practised on utensils made from guava...
Bois de la Maison du Jouir [Sculpted wood from the Maison du Jouir]
Paul Gauguin
The Maison du Jouir

Gauguin lived out his last months at Atuona, on the Marquesas Islands, in a hut mounted on stilts, made of wood, palm leaves and bamboo. He decorated the door...
Paul Gauguin

Gauguin discovered clay with the ceramist Ernest Chaplet. He hoped to earn money with the pots he made in 1887. His potting came to an end during his last...
Gérôme exécutant les Gladiateurs, Monument à Gérôme (Gérôme Executing The Gladiators, Monument to Gérôme)
Jean-Léon Gérôme
Monument to Gérôme

The taste for reality and historical truth taken to the extreme is manifest in the astonishing sculptural group, The Gladiators. This first sculpture by the...
Acquaiolo [The Water Carrier]
Vincenzo Gemito
The Water Carrier

The Italian Gemito exhibited a sculpture of a young fisherboy at the Salon in Paris in 1877 (Il Pescatore, bronze in Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello)....
Machine humaine [Human Machine]
Bernhard Hoetger
Human Machine

Human Machine may be considered as Hoetger's first modern torso. Rodin's influence is here combined with realism as the torso is emerging from a frame made of...
Oedipe à Colone [Oedipus at Colonos]
Jean-Baptiste Hugues
Oedipus at Colonos

A sculptor using the academic repertoire, Hugues, like all the traditional artists of his generation, gleefully explored the human body. Oedipus belongs to...
Futur ou Une jeune femme anglaise [Future or A Young Englishwoman]
Fernand Khnopff

In 1898, Fernand Khnopff, a Belgium symbolist, was one of the guests of honour at the first Viennese Secession. He submitted sixteen paintings and four...
Cassandre [Cassandra]
Max Klinger

In ancient mythology Cassandra was a Trojan princess who had received a gift of prophecy from Apollo. But the god, offended that she had rejected his...
L'Existence [Existence]
Georges Lacombe

Within the Nabi group, Lacombe was known as the "sculptor Nabi". He liked to carve directly in the wood and his work was strongly influenced by Gauguin....
La Méditerranée [The Mediterranean]
Aristide Maillol
The Mediterranean

In 1905, when this statue was exhibited at the Salon d'Automne under the title Woman, it caused a stir. The writer André Gide wrote: "She is beautiful and...
Danseuse [Dancing Woman]
Aristide Maillol
Dancing Woman

Maillol started his career as a painter, then designed tapestries and made decorative wooden objects in the Art Nouveau style. His first sculptures date from...
Le Cycliste, also called L'éphèbe [The Cyclist, also called, The Ephebe]
Aristide Maillol
The Cyclist

This statue represents the racing cyclist Gaston Colin. Like Mediterranean and Desire, it was commissioned by the German count Harry Kessler, who was...
Eve à la pomme [Eve with the Apple]
Aristide Maillol
Eve with the Apple

About 1895, Maillol, who had first worked with painting, tapestry and ceramics, turned to sculpture. He started by carving wood and modelling clay. His first...
Femme assise sur ses talons [Woman sat on her heels]
Aristide Maillol
Woman sat on her heels

Maillol, who had initially devoted himself to painting, tapestry and ceramics, turned to sculpture in 1895. Femme assise sur ses talons was one of his first...
Le Voyageur [The Traveller]
Ernest Meissonier
The Traveller

Hunched over his horse's neck, struggling against the wind and lashed by the rain, The Traveller is probably the most remarkable of all the statuettes made...
Antonin Mercié

The 1870 war and France's defeat left French society feeling humiliated and longing for revenge. This state of mind made David appear to be the promise of a...
Der Leidtragende [The Weight of Grief]
Frantz Metzner
The Weight of Grief

Metzner's style is derived both from Symbolism and the Viennese decorative arts. Der Leidtragende [The Weight of Grief] is a good example of the stylisation...
Industrie [Industry]
Constantin Meunier

The Belgian Constantin Meunier was the first foreign sculptor whose work was bought by the French state for the Musée du Luxembourg. The works in question...
Débardeur du port d'Anvers [Antwerp Harbour Docks]
Constantin Meunier
Antwerp Harbour Docks

Débardeurs were men who loaded and unloaded the ships, more commonly known as dockers today. While avoiding sordid realism, Débardeur du port d'Anvers,...
Mendiante [Beggar Girl]
Carl Milles
Beggar Girl

The Swedish sculptor Carl Milles (pronounced "meeless") lived in Paris between 1897 and 1904. Although he had a great admiration for the city, he was struck...
Agenouillé à la fontaine [Boy Kneeling at the Spring]
Georges Minne
Boy Kneeling at the Spring

The concise, simplified style of his earliest creations earned the Belgian symbolist sculptor Georges Minne sharp criticism for his primitivism, gaucheness...
Femme aux lys [Woman with Lilies]
Alphonse Mucha
Woman with Lilies

Born in Toulouse in 1862, Auguste Seysses trained with Falguière, then led a praiseworthy career marked by various awards in the Salons.Mucha called on...
Ours blanc [Polar Bear]
François Pompon
Polar Bear

For many years, Pompon was one of the most sought-after assistants in Paris, hewing blocks of marble for Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel. But after 1905, in...
Chouette [Owl]
François Pompon

Pompon worked on the subject of owls between 1918 and 1923. There are two versions, either with the eyes protruding or with the eyes set back as here.Pompon...
Sapho [Sappho]
James Pradier

Well-known and appreciated from 1820, Pradier received commissions from all the regimes: the Restoration and the July Monarchy asked him to produce major...
Ophélie [Ophelia]
Auguste Préault

Auguste Préault belonged to the Romantic generation. He rejected all reference to Antiquity and was not interested in illustrating the actions of famous men...
Venus Victrix, also known as Victorious Venus
Auguste Renoir and Richard Guino
Venus Victrix

Between 1913 and 1918, Renoir, now old and his hands deformed by arthritis, let himself be persuaded by his dealer, Ambroise Vollard, to "give some advice to...
Madame Renoir [Mrs Renoir]
Pierre Auguste Renoir
Mrs Renoir

Renoir came to sculpture very late in his career. He seems to have made several attempts in this field about 1875 and sculpted portraits of his family, such...
Salammbô chez Mathô, Je t'aime ! Je t'aime [Salammbo and Matho, I love you! I love you!]
Théodore Rivière
Salammbo and Matho

Polychrome sculpture was very much in vogue in the 19th century, as can be seen in this Salammbo made of ivory, gold, bronze and turquoise. In this case, when...
La Pensée [Thought]
Auguste Rodin

Camille Claudel, Rodin's pupil and lover, often posed for him and the sculptor made several portraits of her. Léonce Bénédite tells that, as was often the...
Auguste Rodin

In 1891, Zola, the newly elected president of the Société des Gens de Lettres, chose Rodin to create the monument to Balzac, almost half a century after the...
Porte de l'Enfer [The Gates of Hell]
Auguste Rodin
The Gates of Hell

In the nineteenth century, the old audit office stood on the site of the Orsay railway station. After its destruction by fire in 1871, during the Commune,...
L'Age d'airain [The Bronze Age]
Auguste Rodin
The Bronze Age

After his demobilisation in January 1871, Rodin returned to Brussels. He lived there for six years since the burgomasters offered work. In 1876 he made a...
Ugolin [Ugolino]
Auguste Rodin

Rodin said that The Divine Comedy never left him: he always had a copy of his pocket. It is one of the darkest episodes in Dante's immense poem that he has...
L'Hiver [Winter]
Auguste Rodin

On the left pilaster of The Gates of Hell, commissioned from Rodin in 1880, there is already a figure of a gaunt old woman in bas-relief. But who had the idea...
Fugit Amor [Fugitive Love]
Auguste Rodin
Fugitive Love

This small group which originally featured in La Porte de l'Enfer (The Gates of Hell) commissioned in 1880, was the biggest project of Rodin's life. The...
La Semeuse [The Sower]
Oscar Roty
The Sower

This Sower is a very familiar figure to the French: she was featured on the fifty centimes coin and on the one, two and five franc pieces until 2001, before...
Amor Caritas
Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Amor Caritas

This large funerary figure of a winged angel is the culmination of a recurring theme in the oeuvre of Saint-Gaudens, one of the most famous American sculptors...
Génie gardant le secret de la tombe [Spirit Guarding the Secret of the Tomb]
Charles René de Saint-Marceaux
Spirit Guarding the Secret of the Tomb

Proof of Saint-Marceaux's taste for Italy, Spirit Guarding the Secret of the Tomb was executed after his second stay in Italy in the early 1870s. The artist...
Danse sacrée [Sacred Dance]
Victor Ségoffin
Sacred Dance

In Victor Ségoffin's Sacred Dance, violent movement is combined with an almost excessively simple construction. The figure is stiffly aligned along a...
The Sleeping Monsters
Séraphin Soudbinine
The Sleeping Monsters

It was at the Autumn Salon in 1906 that Soudbinine, a Russian sculptor who had moved to Paris in 1902, exhibited his Sleeping Monsters in public. This work...
Le murmure de l'Ange [The Angel's Whisper]
Benjamin Spence
The Angel's Whisper

The Angel's Whisper was sculpted after a poem by Samuel Lover, which recounts an Irish belief that when a baby smiles in his sleep he is talking to an...
Ludwig van Beethoven
Franz von Stuck
Ludwig van Beethoven

Stuck's mask of Beethoven is a real curiosity. It has a double status, being a high relief, and therefore a sculpture, but also a painting because it is...
Léon Tolstoï montant "Délire" [Leo Tolstoy Riding 'Delire']
Paul Troubetzkoy
Leo Tolstoy Riding 'Delire'

Prince Trubetskoy, a descendant of an illustrious Russian family, is a perfect representative of the cosmopolitan worldly society in Europe before the First...
Madame Adelaide Aurnheimer, ou Dopo il ballo (Après le bal) [Madame Adelaide Aurnheimer, or Dopo il ballo (After the ball)]
Paul Troubetzkoy
Madame Aurnheimer

Born in Dresden in 1873, Adelaide Ratsch married the German dealer Carlo Federico Aurnheimer. The couple moved to Milan in the 1880s and became one of the...
La Douleur [Grief]
Ville Vallgren

Like many Nordic artists, the Finn Ville Vallgren took inspiration from the Kalevala legend. These popular poems, recounting the epic of the Finnish people,...
Ville Vallgren

Between 1889 and 1901, the Finnish artist Vallgren showed his Christ in several European exhibitions for the avant-garde, in various materials and with...

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