Chapu, Henri-Michel-Antoine

▪ French sculptor
born Sept. 29, 1833, Le Mée, France
died April 21, 1891, Paris

      French sculptor and portrait medallist whose works were softened expressions of the Neoclassical tradition.

      Early in his career Chapu spent five years in Italy after winning the Prix de Rome in 1855. Success came to him with his statue “Mercury” (1861) and his “Jeanne d'Arc” (1870), in which the French heroine was represented as a simple peasant. Numerous commissions followed, including a monument to the painter Henri Regnault in the courtyard of the École des Beaux-Arts (1872) and the tomb of the Comtesse Marie d'Agoult at Père-Lachaise Cemetery (1877). His last important work was a monument to Gustave Flaubert (Flaubert, Gustave), with an allegorical figure of “Truth” (1890). The sober grace and refined naturalism of Chapu's monuments appealed widely in his time, to the extent that many of his works were re-created in variant versions as small-scale bronzes and marbles that were much in demand and were still popular on the art market in the early 21st century.

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Universalium. 2010.

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