Large Peasant [Le Grande Paysan] by Aimé-Jules Dalou (1897-1902). Bronze with a dark brown and green patination. Height: 31¼ inches (79 cm). Signed “DALOU” and Inscribed “Susse Fres Edts Paris and cire perdue.” Inset with Susse Fres Editeurs/Paris foundry pastille. Robert Bowman, London. Photograph by Julian Jans.[Click on images to enlarge them.]

Commentary by Robert Bowman

Dalou was pre-occupied with a major project for the last twelve years of his life—that of building a gigantic monument in honour of the working man. Sadly he died before the work was completed. There remain over one hundred studies representing agricultural workers, which Dalou conceived as sketches for the monument. These maquettes were later edited by the Susse Freres foundry after Dalou’s death and proved very popular with collectors as the fashion for impressionist work came to the fore.

The present model was one of Dalou’s last works, designed to be the centrepiece of his monument to the workers. It was produced as a life size plaster model in 1897, known as Le Grand Payson, and exhibited for the first time in 1902. The Susse foundry cast a bronze edition of the life-sized version after Dalou’s death.

The sculpture depicts a ‘working man’ standing upright and caught in a moment of contemplation before he begins his daily toil. His face is lined and tired, his hands aged from the harsh environment and his clothes simple and old. Nevertheless, Dalou imbues the figure with a dignified and stoic appearance. Monumental in appearance, this is clearly someone with whom Dalou himself feels a huge affinity.

Related Material

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Aimé-Jules Dalou (1897-1902). Online exhibition catalogue. London: Bowman Sculpture, 2014. Web. 29 November 2014.

Last modified 29 November 2014