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Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887)
The three Graces
Terracotta group
Signed on the embankment: A CARRIER - BELLEUSE


H. 74.5 - D. 31 cm


Beautiful terracotta sculpture representing the three graces, draped and capped in the antique style, supporting a vase. 


For a time nicknamed the Clodion of the 19th century by his contemporaries, Carrier-Belleuse was
the author of an abundant body of work that will leave a deep mark on French sculpture.


Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse was born in Aisne in 1824 to a notary father who died in 1834, leaving his family in a precarious situation. It was then his cousins Etienne and François Arago who took care of his education.  As a young apprentice with the engraver Bauchery, then with the goldsmith Jacques-Henri Fauconnier, Carrier-Belleuse finally succeeded, through the mediation of the sculptor David d'Angers, in entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1840. hardly suits him and he then decides to join the Petite Ecole.


Following the example of Barbedienne, several large Parisian bronze houses will detect the ease and
the virtuosity of the young sculptor, and will subsequently order various objects from him such as clocks or candelabra. It was in 1848 that Carrier-Belleuse received his first public commission, it was a gilded plaster statue of the famous actress of the time, Elisabeth-Rachel Félix, alias Mademoiselle Rachel. Passionate about decorative art, he presented two bronze medallions on the occasion of the Salon de peinture et de sculpture of 1850.


The following year, he decided to cross the Channel and reach the city of Stoke-on-Trent, where until 1855 he directed the design school of the prestigious Minton house, a very famous porcelain factory at the time. . Back in France, Carrier-Belleuse frequently exhibited his works at the Salon from 1857. His marble groups with erotic connotations were particularly appreciated and received a myriad of praise from critics.


In 1864, the young Auguste Rodin joined the Carrier-Belleuse workshop located rue de la Tour d'Auvergne as an apprentice. The master will then exert a considerable influence on his pupil, as evidenced by the early works of Rodin.


In addition, Carrier-Belleuse participated in 1873 in the construction of the Paris Opera devolved to his friend Charles Garnier, notably by realizing the sumptuous caryatids of the chimney of the grand foyer. 1875, a year of consecration for the sculptor, whose entire body of work will be rewarded with an appointment to the directorate of works of art at the Manufacture de Sèvres.  The ultimate modeller, Carrier-Belleuse breathes new life into the manufacture by renewing the use of biscuits.


Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse died in 1887, leaving behind him a large number of descendants who would also exert themselves in a notable way in the field of art.

A. Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887), The Three Graces, terracotta, 19th century


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