Bourdelle, Émile Antoine

Bourdelle, Émile Antoine

Bourdelle, Émile Antoine (āmēlˈ äNtwänˈ bo͞ordĕlˈ), 1861–1929, French sculptor; son of a cabinetmaker of Montauban. He went to Paris in 1884, where he studied successively under Falguière, Dalou, and Rodin. Bourdelle differed sharply from Rodin in his preoccupation with the relation of sculpture to architecture. Seeking his inspiration in archaic Greece and the Gothic, he achieved his greatest success in heroic and monumental works such as Hercules, of which there is a cast in the Metropolitan Museum; his colossal Virgin of Alsace; his bas-reliefs for the Théâtre des Champs Élysées; and his monument to Americans who died in World War I (Pointe de Grave). He is also noted for his numerous portrait heads.


See study by I. Jianu (1966).

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Bourdelle, Émile Antoine


Born Oct. 30, 1861, in Montauban; died Oct. 1, 1929, in Vesinet. French sculptor.

Bourdelle studied at the School of Fine Arts in Toulouse (1876-84) and in Paris (1884-86). He worked in the studios of A. Falguière (1884) and A. Rodin (1893-1908) and taught in the studio Grande Chaumière (1909-29). Bourdelle’s works from the end of the 1880’s to the beginning of the 1900’s, with their occasional violent expression (Monument to the Fallen in Montauban, bronze, 1893-1902), are distinguished by the fineness of their rhythms and the volume and complexity of the general construction. In later works, striving for the heroic and monumental quality in his images, Bourdelle recreated the traditions of Greek antiquity, the early classics, and European medieval art. Bourdelle’s works are distinguished by unity of construction and dynamics, contrast of light and shade, coarsely energetic treatment of exaggeratedly large, solid forms, and activity of spatial construction (Hercules Shooting From a Bow, 1909; Penelope, 1909-12; and Sappho, 1924-25, all bronze). In his portraits (A. Rodin, bronze, 1909; France, bronze, 1919), Bourdelle reveals the tension of human inner life. In his Monument to Alvear, in Buenos Aires (bronze, 1915-23), his Paris statue France (bronze, 1925), and his monument to A. Mickiewicz (bronze, 1909-29), Bourdelle strove to express civic ideas. In Bourdelle’s various works of the 1920’s, the characteristics of declarativeness, stylization, and archaization appear. Bourdelle also drew and painted (frescoes of the Théâtre des Champs Ely sees, 1912). The work of Bourdelle, one of the greatest monument builders of his time, occupied an important place in progressive French art of the first third of the 20th century.


Iskusstvo skul’ptury. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from French.)


Roden i ego vremia: Katalog. Moscow, [no date].
Starodubova, V. V. Burdel’. Moscow, 1970.
Jianou, I., and M. Dufet. Bourdelle. Paris, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.