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Jean-Baptiste Clésinger (French, 1814-1883)

Born Jean-Baptiste, but later choosing to be known as Auguste, he was a student of his father, the academic sculptor George Philippe Clésinger. Later studying under sculptor Thorvaldsen, a Danish neoclassical artist whose influence is clear in Clésinger's subjects, he also studied under architect Salvi and briefly under David d'Angers. A somewhat distracted and highly ambitious spirit, Jean-Baptiste moved around from Switzerland to Florence and in 1845 settled in Paris. He was aggressive in making connections and arranging proper critical acclaim for his works, an effort that paid off in his 1847 debut of Woman Bitten by a Snake, a moving Romantic work that created a sensation among critics. He was awarded first-class medal at Salon in 1848 for his Reclining Bacchante and was awarded membership in the exclusive Legion of Honor in 1849 - later he was promoted to officier in 1864. While he also worked to market his own works, organizing public auctions and publishing a catalogue with Théophile Gautier in 1868-70, much of his work was cast by and promoted by the Ferdinand Barbedienne foundry. The firm's 1867 catalogue features Clésinger's work prominently and the majority of works executed during his lifetime bear the stamp of this founder.

Literature:

  • Romantic Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: French, English and American Bronzes 1830-1915, Jeremy Cooper
  • Catalogue Bronzes D'Art, F. Barbedienne, 1886
  • The Romantics to Rodin: French Nineteenth Century Sculpture, George Braziller, p. 174-180
  • Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 215-20
  • E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. III, Gründ, p. 1121-22
  • Art Bronzes, Michael Forrest