James Pradier (born Jean-Jacques Pradier, pronounced [pʁadje] ; 23 May 1790 – 4 June 1852) was a Genevan-born French sculptor best known for his work in the neoclassical style.
Born in Geneva (then Republic of Geneva), Pradier was the son of a Protestant family from Toulouse. He left for Paris in 1807 to work with his elder brother, Charles-Simon Pradier, an engraver, and also attended the École des Beaux-Arts beginning in 1808. He won a Prix de Rome that enabled him to study in Rome from 1814 to 1818 at the Villa Médicts. Pradier made his debut at the Salon in 1819 and quickly acquired a reputation as a competent artist. He studied under Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in Paris. In 1827 he became a member of the Académie des beaux-arts and a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Pradier oversaw the finish of his sculptures himself. He was a friend of the Romantic poets Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier, and the young Gustave Flaubert, and his atelier was a center, presided over by his beautiful mistress, Juliette Drouet, who became Hugo's mistress in 1833. After the liaison with Drouet ended, he married Louise d'Arcet (1814-1885), daughter of the French chemist Jean-Pierre-Joseph d'Arcet, in 1833 but they would separate in 1845,after Pradier had become aware of her infidelities. They had three children: Charlotte (born 27 July 1834), John (b. 21 May 1836), and Thérèse (b. 3 July 1839.). Due to her numerous lovers and her complicated financial lfe, Louise Pradier was among the inspirations for Flaubert when he wrote Madame Bovary.
The cool neoclassical surface finish of Pradier's sculptures is charged with an eroticism that their mythological themes can barely disguise. At the Salon of 1834, Pradier's Satyr and Bacchante created a scandalous sensation. Some claimed to recognize the features of the sculptor and his mistress, Juliette Drouet. When the prudish government of Louis-Philippe refused to purchase it, Count Anatole Demidoff bought it and took it to his palazzo in Florence. (It has since come back to the Louvre).
Other famous sculptures by Pradier are the figures of Fame in the spandrels of the Arc de Triomphe, decorative figures at the Madeleine, and his twelve Victories inside the dome of the Invalides, all in Paris. For his native Geneva he completed the statue of the Genevan Jean-Jacques Rousseau erected in 1838 on the tiny Île Rousseau, where Lac Léman empties to form the Rhône. Aside from large-scale sculptures Pradier collaborated with François-Désiré Froment-Meurice, designing jewelry in a 'Renaissance-Romantic' style.
He is buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Much of the contents of his studio were bought up after his death by the city museum of Geneva.
Pradier's importance as an artist in his day is demonstrated by the fact that his portrait is included in François Joseph Heim's painting Charles X Distributing Prizes to Artists as the Salon of 1824, now in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Pradier has been largely forgotten in modern times. In 1846 Gustave Flaubert said of him, however:
An exhibition, Statues de chair: sculptures de James Pradier (1790–1852) at Geneva's Musée d'Art et d'Histoire (October 1985 – February 1986) and Paris, Musée du Luxembourg (February – May 1986), roused some interest in Pradier's career and aesthetic.
Pradier's students included:
Louise Colet, born Louise Revoil de Servannes, was a French poet and writer.
Henri-Michel-Antoine Chapu was a French sculptor in a modified Neoclassical tradition who was known for his use of allegory in his work.
Juliette Drouet, born Julienne Josephine Gauvain, was a French actress. She abandoned her career on the stage after becoming the mistress of Victor Hugo, to whom she acted as a secretary and travelling companion. Juliette accompanied Hugo in his exile to the Channel Islands, and wrote thousands of letters to him throughout her life.
François-Frédéric Lemot was a French sculptor, working in the Neoclassical style.
Laurent-Honoré Marqueste was a French sculptor in the neo-Baroque Beaux-Arts tradition. He was a pupil of François Jouffroy and of Alexandre Falguière and won the Prix de Rome in 1871.
Louis-Pierre Deseine (1749–1822) was a French sculptor, who was born and died in Paris. He is known above all for his portrait busts and imaginary portraits. At the Salon of 1789, he showed a portrait head of Belisarius.
Apollonie Sabatier was a French courtesan, salon holder, artists' muse and bohémienne in 1850s Paris.
Jacques-Léonard Maillet was a French academic sculptor of modest reputation, whose themes were of neoclassical and biblical inspiration; his public commissions were in large part for the programs of decorative architectural sculpture required by the grandiose public works programs characteristic of the Second Empire, which included commemorative portraits of French culture heroes. He also provided models for goldsmith's work.
Georges Diebolt, sometimes spelled Diébolt, was a French sculptor best known for his publicly commissioned monumental works, including The Zouave and Grenadier on the pont de l'Alma in Paris and the Maritime Victory on the Pont des Invalides.
Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire was a French sculptor, working in a neoclassical academic style.
Auguste Clésinger was a 19th-century French sculptor and painter.
Pierre-Charles Simart was a French sculptor.
Auguste-Marie Taunay (1768–1824) was a French sculptor.
Auguste-François Michaut, was born in 1786 Paris and died in 1879 Versailles. He was a coin engraver of France and Holland, a medallist and sculptor.
Charles-René Laitié was a French sculptor.
Jean-Élie Chaponnière, known as John-Étienne Chaponnière was a Swiss sculptor active in Italy and France.
Henri-Édouard Lombard was a French sculptor. He won the won the Prix de Rome in 1883. He was a Professor of Sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1900 to 1929. He designed public sculptures in Marseille, Nice and Paris.
The style of architecture and design under King Louis Philippe I (1830–1848) was a more eclectic development of French neoclassicism, incorporating elements of neo-Gothic and other styles. It was the first French decorative style imposed not by royalty, but by the tastes of the growing French upper class. In painting, neoclassicism and romanticism contended to become the dominant style. In literature and music, France had a golden age, as the home of Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Victor Hugo, Honoré de Balzac, and other major poets and artists.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Pradier .|