Antoine Bourdelle

Creator Name: Antoine Bourdelle
Creator Type: Art
Dates: 1861 - 1929
Language: French

Antoine Bourdelle (30 October 1861 1 October 1929), born mile Antoine Bordelles, was an influential and prolific French sculptor and teacher. He was a student of Auguste Rodin, a teacher of Giacometti and Henri Matisse, and an important figure in the Art Deco movement and the transition from the Beaux-Arts style to modern sculpture.

His studio became the Muse Bourdelle, an art museum dedicated to his work, located at 18, rue Antoine Bourdelle, in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, France.

Early life and education

mile Antoine Bourdelle was born at Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne in France on 30 October 1861. His father was a wood craftsman and cabinet-maker. In 1874, at the age of thirteen, he left school to work in his father's workshop, and also began carving his first sculptures of wood.

In 1876, with the assistance of writer mile Pouvillon, he received a scholarship to attend the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse, though he remained fiercely independent and resisted the formal program. In 1884, at the age of twenty-four, he earned second place in the competition to enter the cole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. There he worked in the studio of Alexandre Falguire and frequented the studio of Jules Dalou, who was his neighbor.


In 1885 he participated in the annual Salon of artists and won an honorable mention for his work, The First Victory of Hannibal. He rented a studio at 16 Impasse du Main, next to the painters Eugne Carrire and Jean-Paul Laurens. He worked in this studio until his death.

In 1887, he quit the studio of Falguir, and, moved by the music of Beethoven, he made his first of what would eventually be some forty sculptures of the composer. In September 1893 Bourdelle joined the studio of Auguste Rodin. His collaboration with Rodin lasted fifteen years. In 1895, he received his first official commission, a war monument for the city of Montauban. His proposed plans, different from traditional monuments, created a scandal. Rodin intervened on his behalf, and the monument was finally erected in 1902.

In 1900, Bourdelle demonstrated his independence from Rodin's style with a bust of Apollo. In the same year, Bourdelle, Rodin and the sculptor Desbois opened a free school of sculpture, the Institut Rodin-Debois-Bourdelle. One of the students was Henri Matisse, who later produced some remarkable sculpture, but the school did not last long.

In 1905, Bourdelle had his first personal exhibition, in the gallery of the foundry-owner Hbrand. With the support of Hbrand and the material assistance of his foundry, Bourdelle was able to make larger works and earn greater recognition. His father died in 1906, and Bourdelle changed his first name to simply Antoine, after his father. He married his second wife, Clopatre Sevastos (1892-1972), who was of Greek origin. She and their daughter, Rhodia, became a frequent inspiration for his works.

In 1908 Bourdelle left the studio of Rodin and set out on his own. In 1909 he exhibited a new work, Hercules the Archer at the annual Salon of the Societ Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He began to teach at the Acadmie de la Grande Chaumire, where his students included Giacometti and Adaline Kent.

In 1913 the Thtre des Champs-lyses was inaugurated, with decoration on the facade and the interior atrium designed by Bourdelle. This work announced the debut of the Art Deco style, and was an important step towards modernism. He was a participant in the 1913 Armory Show in New York, a founder and vice-president of the Parisian Salon des Tuileries.

He remained in Paris during the First World War, working on a commission for an art patron from Argentina, Rodolfo Acorta, a monument to General Alvear, which was inaugurated in Buenos Aires in 1925. In 1929, his first major public sculpture in Paris, the monument to the Polish hero Mickiewicz, was inaugurated on Place d'Alma.

Death and legacy

Bourdelle, in poor health, died at Le Vsinet, near Paris, on 1 October 1929 and was interred in the Cimetire du Montparnasse, Paris, France.


Today the Muse Bourdelle in Paris sits amidst brick houses at 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle, a small street between the Gare Montparnasse and the offices of the famous French newspaper Le Monde. The museum consists of Bourdelle's house, studio, and garden where he worked from 1884 to 1929.

In the 1930s his widow opened his art studio for viewings. In 1949, the atelier of Bourdelle was donated by his former spouse Cloptre and his daughter to the city of Paris and it was opened as the Muse Bourdelle, additionally the street was renamed as rue Antoine Bourdelle.

A second museum, the Bourdelle Garden-Museum in greville, France was established by his daughter and son-in-law starting in 1969 and hosts another 56 of Bourdelle's sculptures in a garden setting.


His art work is in many public collections worldwide, including Muse d'Orsay (Paris), the National Museum of Western Art (Tokyo), List Visual Arts Center at MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Cleveland Museum of Art, National Museum of Art of Romania, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Courtauld Institute of Art (London), Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (Rome), Hermitage Museum (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.), Honolulu Museum of Art, Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, Texas), Krller-Mller Museum (Otterlo, Netherlands), the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Buenos Aires), the National Galleries of Scotland, National Gallery of Australia, Muse Ingres (Montauban), the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Museum (Antwerp, Belgium), and the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Petersburg, Florida), among others.

Personal life

In 1904, Bourdelle married artist Stephanie van Parys (also known as Vanparys, 18771945). His wife often served as a model for Bourdelle, by 1910 they had divorced. Together with van Parys they had a son, Pierre Bourdelle (c.19031966) and Pierre became an artist most active in the United States, and notable for his work at Cincinnati Union Terminal in 1933.

Bourdelle married in 1918 his former art student, Cloptre Sevastos (18821972), who also served as his model. Together with Sevastos they had a daughter, Rhodia Bourdelle (her married name was Dufet, DufetBourdelle, 19112002) and she was an art curator.


In 1909 he was named Knight of the Legion of Honor, in 1919 Officier of the Legion of Honor, and in 1924 became a Commander of the Legion of Honor.


Artists who studied with Antoine Bourdelle included:

For a first hand account of Bourdelle's teaching style see Arnold Ronnebeck's article from 1925, published in The Arts 8, no. 4 titled "Bourdelle Speaks to His Pupils: From a Paris Diary."

See also

  • Art Deco in Paris

Notes and citations


  • Colin Lemoine, Antoine Bourdelle. L'oeuvre demeure, Paris, Paris-Muses, 2009
  • Bourdelle, mile-Antoine, "mile-Antoine Bourdelle, Sculptures and Drawings", Perth, Western Australian Art Gallery, 1978.
  • Jeancolas, Claude, Sculpture Franaise, CELIV, Paris (1992), (ISBN978-2-86535-162-6)
  • Ottawa.National Gallery of Canada, "Antoine Bourdelle, 1861-1929", New York, C. E. Slatkin Galleries, 1961.
  • Colin Lemoine, Antoine Bourdelle, Paris, Cercle d'art, 2004,(ISBN978-2-7022-0749-9)
  • Antoine Bourdelle, passeur de la modernit, exhibition catalogue (curators Roxana Theodorescu, Juliette Laffon and Colin Lemoine / Catalogue Colin Lemoine), Bucarest, National Museum of Art, 2006
  • Colin Lemoine, Le Fruit: une uvre majuscule d'Antoine Bourdelle, Ligeia, JanuaryJune 2005, n57-58-59-60, p.60-78
  • Colin Lemoine, "...sans ce model la Rodin, la XVIIIe sicle qui beurre le tout: Bourdelle et la question d'un primitivisme occidental", Bulletin du muse Ingres, May 2006, n 78, p.49-66
  • Cloptre Sevastos, Ma vie avec Bourdelle, Paris-Muses-Editions des Cendres, 2005 (annoted edition by Colin Lemoine)
  • Vronique Gautherin, L'Oeil et la main (2000)
  • Antoine Bourdelle, d'un sicle l'autre. L'eurythmie de la modernit, exhibition catalogue by Colin Lemoine, Japan (Kitakyushu, Niigata, Takamatsu, Iwaki, Nagoya, Seoul), 20072008.

External links

  • Works by or about Antoine Bourdelle at Internet Archive
  • Muse Bourdelle (in French)
  • Portrait of Rodin from Antoine Bourdelle, on the official website of the Muse Rodin.
  • National Art Gallery and Alexander Soutzos Museum, Bourdelle Emile-Antoine, Biography (in English)
  • Antoine Bourdelle in American public collections, on the French Sculpture Census website
  • Antoine Bourdelle at Find a Grave

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Modern Art - Art Deco

Modern Art - Art Deco

c. 1909 - c. 1939

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