Dalou in England: Portraits of Womanhood, 1871–1879

Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009

The French sculptor Jules Dalou (1838–1902) was Rodin’s contemporary, and his large-scale sculptural groups occupy key sites in Paris, including the Place de la Nation and Père-Lachaise Cemetery. However, his early work is largely unknown. Dalou in England: Portraits of Womanhood, 1871–1879, aimed to rectify this by examining Dalou’s British period, when he was sent into exile for his left-wing connections. Ironically, once in exile, Dalou found his niche among the English aristocracy. While living in London the artist created portrait sculptures and scenes of domesticity seemingly at odds with his reputation as a political progressive.

The statuettes that Dalou made in the 1870s encompassed women from the working classes, the bourgeoisie, and the aristocracy, all rendered in a table-top size. Dalou in England proposed that these images of women were meant to be understood as a series, and were created to allow for deliberate comparison. Through his images of women, Dalou revealed and questioned the stratified nature of modern society and its strict demarcations between the classes.

The exhibition was organized by the Yale Center for British Art in association with the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and it was curated by A. Cassandra Albinson, Associate Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Center.

Philippe Mercier, formerly attributed to Paul Sandby, Head of a Woman, Study for The Bible Lesson (detail), ca. 1743, graphite and red and black chalk, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Dalou in England
was complemented by a display of works by French artists active in London in the same years as Dalou, including Alphonse Legros and James Tissot, and by artists whose visits to Britain occurred earlier in the nineteenth century, such as Théodore Géricault and Paul Gavarni. This section of the exhibition was drawn from Yale collections and was curated by Jo Briggs, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center.


Henry Moore Institute, Leeds:
November 22, 2008–February 22, 2009

Yale Center for British Art:
June 11–August 23, 2009