Musée Bourdelle / Roger-Viollet

29 November - 11 March 2012

Imperative and passionate, a discipline and an outlet, Antoine Bourdelle's (1861-1929) endless daily practice of drawing resulted in the production of a large collection of graphic works. The Musée Bourdelle unveiled this collection in the first major exhibition ever dedicated to the sculptor's drawings, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Two-hundred drawings, including many that have never been seen before, have been selected from the most significant works in the museum’s collection, which amounts to seven thousand pieces, according to a recent inventory. They trace the sculptor’s career from 1875 to 1929, revealing, as he put it, “the essential role of drawing in [his] life as an artist”.

Breaking away from traditional chronological order, the exhibition trail shows groups of drawings that derive from a similar intention. It offers new ways of understanding Bourdelle’s approach as a draughtsman, and an insight into his secret garden. It also shows how talented Antoine Bourdelle was in a wide range of styles and techniques (pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolour, etc.).

From educational drawing in the purest academic tradition, “exercises for the eye and hand”, to his studies of polychromy in his mature years, from life drawing to drawing from memory, from early drawings in black and white to colourful compositions, Bourdelle’s graphic work reflects the endless stylistic and visual research of this visionary sculptor at the turn of the century. The trail ends with a display of several groups of preparatory drawings for statues and monuments, compared to a selection of sculptures.

A catalogue will be published.



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