Exhibition at the museum

Auguste Préault (1809-1879) : Romantic Sculptor

From February 20th to May 18th, 1997 -
Musée d'Orsay
Esplanade Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
75007 Paris
Map & itinerary
Auguste Préault-Virgile
Auguste Préault, Eck et Durand
Virgile, en 1853
Musée d'Orsay
Achat, 1853 ; Dépôt du musée du Louvre, 1986
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
See the notice of the artwork

"Amongst all the arts, the least adapted to the expression of romanticism is sculpture" stated the writer Théophile Gautier. And yet, Auguste Préault (1809-1879), a contemporary of Barye, Rude and David d'Angers, was for twenty years the embodiment of the romantic genius. This exhibition made it possible to discover the constituent ingredients of Romanticism: a yearning for realism, an expression of movement, a taste for history and exoticism and an exaltation of feelings.
Before this retrospective, Préault's work had fallen into oblivion, three masterpieces excepted: La Tuerie (The Killing) (Musée des Beaux Arts, Chartres), Ophelia (Musée d'Orsay) and the Christ in the Eglise Saint Gervais.
The exhibition therefore allowed the public to discover anew the great aspects of his work: subjects inspired by literature (Ophelia, Dante, Virgil) ; portraits and medallions (Delacroix) ; funeral sculpture (Silence), which draws its strength from its atemporality ; and such public commissions as the statue of Clemence Isaure in the Jardin du Luxembourg. By the sheer violence of his subjects, the novelty of his compositions and the spirit of his art, Préault may well deserve, as far as sculpture is concerned, the accolade of the greatest poet of unhappiness.

The exhibition is now over.

See the whole program

Exhibition artworks