Antoine Bourdelle

Antoine Bourdelle (October 30, 1861 - October 1, 1929) was a French sculptor & teacher.

Born Émile Antoine Bourdelle at Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, France. He left school at the age of 13 to work as a wood carver in his father's cabinet making shop. He learned drawing with the founder of the Ingres Museum in Montauban, then sculpture at the art school in Toulouse. At the age of 24 he won a scholarship to the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

In 1888 he did his first sculptures of Beethoven, producing authoritative work with an emphasis on order, the spirit of geometry, construction and invention. He became one of the pioneers of 20th century monumental sculpture. Auguste Rodin became a great admirer of his work and in 1893 Antoine Bourdelle joined Rodin as his assistant where he soon became a popular teacher, both there and at his own studio where many future prominient artists attended his classes, so that his influence on sculpture was considerable. Students came from around the world to study under Antoine Bourdelle such as:

  • Thanassis Apartis, Greece
  • Alberto Giacometti, Switzerland
  • Angela Gregory, United States
  • Otto Gutfreund, Czech Republic
  • Bror Hjorth, Sweden
  • Raoul Josset, France
  • Emile Lahner, Hungary
  • Aristide Maillol, France
  • Vadym Meller, Ukraine
  • Bencho Obreshkov, Bulgaria
  • Germaine Richier, France
  • Maria Elena Vieira da Silva, Portugal
  • Helen Wilson, United States
  • Teodors Zalkalns, Latvia

During his last years, Bourdelle received several commissions for monuments. He was a founder and vice-president of the Paris Salon des Tuileries, and in 1924 became a commander of the Legion of Honor.

Antoine Bourdelle died at Le Vesinet, near Paris, on October 1, 1929 and was interred in the Cimetiere de Montparnasse, Paris, France.

Today, at 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle, Le Musée Antoine Bourdelle sits amidst brick houses in a small street between the Gare Montparnasse and the offices of the famous French newspaper "Le Monde". The museum consists of Bourdelle’s house, studio and garden where he worked from 1884 to 1929.\n


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