This drawing is a study for the main figure of Triumph of the Republic, for which the plaster model, by Jules Dalou, is conserved in the Petit Palais.

The model was submitted by Dalou for an open competition for a monument to the Republic in Paris in 1879. It was not selected for what is now Place de la République, but was nevertheless chosen by the city councillors for Place de la Nation.

Dalou designed a gigantic monument measuring 12 metres tall, 22 metres long and 12 metres wide, whose figures were almost 4.50 metres in height. It took the sculptor 20 years to create the final work in bronze. The Triumph of the Republic, whose inauguration in November 1899 was the occasion for a grand Republican celebration, is still the main ornament in Place de la Nation in Paris.

This study is part of a group of preparatory works for the production of the model in 1879. Dalou worked on the subject while he was still in exile in London as a result of his Communard past. There are two other known studies for the Triumph of the Republic: one for the figure of Abundance, conserved in a private collection, and the other for the figure of the Republic, which is in the Musée d’Orsay (inv. RF 24249).

This study comes from the collection belonging to Auguste Becker, Jules Dalou’s assistant and friend who had collected all the documentation found in the studio (drawings and archive documents) upon the death of the sculptor in 1902. Part of the Becker collection was dispersed during the Delestre sale in 1978, and the rest is still in private hands.

This drawing, a generous gift on the occasion of the exhibition titled Jules Dalou, the sculptor of the Republic, organised in the spring of 2013, is a key testimony to the genesis of one of the masterpieces by Jules Dalou, a major sculptor among the Petit Palais collections.

C. C.-V.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

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