Emile-Antoine Bourdelle (1861 - 1929)

Bourdelle was the son of a cabinetmaker, and he learned drawing and sculpture in his father’s workshop. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse, then in Paris where he worked in Falguiere’s studio. However, its academic teaching methods displeased him and he didn’t remain there long. Jules Dalou employed him as an assistant and introduced him to Rodin who hired him as a practitioner and his partner in 1893. The art of the portrait was a crucial element in Bourdelle’s oeuvre: Beethoven, Anatole France, Rodin, Daumier, Rembrandt… Between 1895 and 1902, he designed the Memorial to the Fighters and defenders of Tarn-et-Garonne for the city of Montauban. In 1910, he made the carved décor for the front side of the Champs-Elysees Theater, as well as the fresco decoration in the atrium and the borders of the boxes. He was then entrusted with important commissions, including the Monument to General Alvear, to be sited in Buenos Aires, the Monument to Ruben Dario in Nicaragua, the Monument to Doctor Soca in Uruguay, and the Monument to the poet Adam Mickiewicz, commissioned by the Franco-polish committee in Paris. From 1909, Bourdelle worked as a teacher for the Academie de la Grande Chaumière, where Alberto Giacometti and Germaine Richier were his students. In 1923, he was one of the founding members of the Salon des Tuileries, of which he remained vice-president until he died in 1929.