Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1900
Department of Art after 1800
|Date||late 19th century|
41 × 36 × 28 cm
|Collection||Department of Art after 1800|
|On view||Hungarian National Gallery Building D, First Floor, From Delacroix to Vasarely – Highlights from the Collection of International Art after 1800, Cabinet|
Paul Du Bois studied alongside Égide Rombeaux, Victor Rousseau and George Minne, although his work is less well known than that of his peers. He graduated from the Department of Sculpture of the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, then continued his training in the Atelier Libre, the studio run by Charles van der Stappen. In 1883, he became a founding member of Les Vingt and regularly exhibited his work with the group between 1884 and 1893. Besides public monuments, architectural ornaments and tombs, he also produced jewellery and personal items, and examples of his sculptures can be found in many European museums. Although Du Bois supported the artistic aspirations of the avant-garde, he himself remained a disciple of the naturalist style of van der Stappen, producing balanced and concisely articulated compositions. The model for the Budapest bust was the sculptor’s wife, Alice Sèthe, but the title of the work, Madonna, suggests that in this instance the cast bronze sculpture symbolises the purity and chastity of the female ideal. The female figure was a popular theme among artists at the turn of the century, depicted either as a seductive, shameless femme fatale or as the embodiment of purity and innocence. The sculpture was purchased by the Hungarian state for the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts in 1897 at the international spring exhibition of the Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle).
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.