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Born Nov. 4, 1874, in Mont-de-Marsan, Landes; died Oct. 28, 1946, in Paris. French sculptor.
Despiau studied in Paris from 1891 in the School of Decorative Arts and in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. From 1907 to 1914 he worked as Rodin’s assistant. Despiau is one of the outstanding masters of portrait sculpture in the 20th century. His works are noted for their keen sense of modernity, humanism and poetic imagery, and sensitive understanding of the models’ spiritual makup and individuality. While consistently striving for generalization, classical purity, wholeness of plastic form, and clear-cut structural relevance, Despiau never lost his careful approach to the model, creating images that are rich in psychological nuances and in which the fine modeling produces a play of light and shade (Girl From the Landes, marble, 1907, and Portrait of Agnes Meyer, bronze, 1929—both in the National Museum of Modern Art, Paris; portrait of L. Lievre, bronze, 1918, Museum of Fine Art, Algiers). Despiau created the war memorial in Mont-de-Marsan (1920-22) and a number of nudes (Assia, bronze, 1937, National Museum of Modern Art, Paris).
REFERENCESRoden i ego vremia: Katalog. Moscow [no date]. (Translated from French.)
George, W. Despiau vivant: L’homme et l’oeuvre. Paris, 1947.
Ch. Despiau. Published by W. George. Cologne, 1954.