This terracotta bust depicts the architect of the Petit Palais, Charles Girault, in academic dress. The architect was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1910 to replace Coquart. The inscription on the base allows us to date and identify the artist of the work: it was created in 1920 by the sculptor Denys Puech (1854-1942).

A pupil of Jouffroy, Falguière and Chapu, Denys Puech won the Prix de Rome in 1884 and then enjoyed a successful career as a sculptor: he was appointed member of the Institute in 1905 (hence perhaps the inscription of “Dear colleague” on the bust of Girault), and was director of the Villa Médicis in Rome from 1921 to 1933, when he was replaced by Landowski.

Alongside a large amount of monumental work, Denys Puech produced numerous portraits of his contemporaries. The Petit Palais has one of the artist’s works in its collection entitled Thought, commissioned by the City of Paris in 1899 for the courtyard of the Sorbonne University but rejected by the Beaux-Arts Committee, who judged it to be out of place within the setting of this famous university.

This very realistic portrait of Girault follows an academic aesthetic. The sculptor has taken care to depict the details of the dress of his “colleague and friend”, as well as the carefully trimmed moustache and beard. This characteristic detail is also found on the bronze medallion of Emile Peynot (1850-1932), made in Rome in 1885, and the portrait painted by François Schommer, also given to the Petit Palais in 2012 by a descendant of the architect.

C. C.-V.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

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Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.