Buste d'enfant (Bust of a child) by Aimé-Jules Dalou (1897-1902). Bronze with dark brown patination and lighter brown and green highlights. Height (without base): 12 1/5'' (31 cm). Height with base: 16 1/4'' (41 cm). Signed “DALOU.” Stamped “CIRE PERDUE A.A.HEBRARD.” Conceived between 1877-1890 and cast after 1902. Robert Bowman, London. Photograph by Julian Jans. Artist’s name inscribed. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Commentary by Robert Bowman

The present sculpture dates to the same year and is related to the sculptor’s commission of a marble monument celebrating Queen Victoria’s children for a Royal, private chapel at Windsor Castle. This model served as a preliminary sketch for one of the figures in the monument. From the position of the head, slightly tilted to the right, it is clear that the bust was produced as a study for the child to the right of the angel’s leg in the final composition. Both the terracotta maquette for the monument and the original study for this Buste d’Enfant are currently part of the Petit Palais collection in Paris.

The artist did not sculpt actual portraits of Queen Victoria’s children, but rather worked using the numerous studies of young children he produced in his London studio, where babies and mothers would often pose for him. In this light, the intensity of the figure’s eyes, the plumpness of his cheeks, the subtle curve of his lips and the ruffled hair framing his face are based on the artist’s reinterpretation of such models, testifying to Dalou’s creative process and technical prowess.

This bronze was cast by the Hebrard foundry shortly after the artist’s death, following the contract stipulated” by his heirs and the foundry on 31st December 1902. No lifetime casts of the model were ever made.

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Last modified 13 March 2018