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Antoine Bourdelle (October 30, 1861 – October 1, 1929), originally Émile Antoine Bourdelle, was a French sculptor and teacher.


Antoine Bourdelle (pronounceed an-twahn boor-dell) was born at Montaubanmarker, Tarn-et-Garonnemarker. 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 Toulousemarker. At the age of 24 he won a scholarship to the École des Beaux-Arts in Parismarker.

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 prominent artists attended his classes, so that his influence on sculpture was considerable.

In Paris one of Bourdelle's most visible works is the decorative series of friezes executed for the exterior of Auguste Perret's Théâtre des Champs-Élyséesmarker (1913).

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 Vésinetmarker, near Paris, on October 1, 1929 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnassemarker, Paris, Francemarker.

Collections of his work

Today the Musée Bourdellemarker in Paris sits amidst brick houses at 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle, a small street between the Gare Montparnassemarker 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. His work is also exhibited in public collections including the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (Japan), the Cleveland Museum of Artmarker, the Courtauld Institute of Artmarker (London), the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Modernamarker (Rome), Harvard University Art Museums, the Hermitage Museummarker, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Gardenmarker (Washington D.C.), the Honolulu Academy of Artsmarker, the Kimbell Art Museummarker (Fort Worth, Texas), Kröller-Müller Museummarker (Otterlo, Netherlands), the Minneapolis Institute of Artsmarker, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes marker, the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Gallery of Australiamarker, the Ingres museum in Toulousemarker, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgiummarker.

The teacher

Artists who studied with Antoine Bourdelle included:

For a first hand account of Bourdelle's teaching style see Arnold Ronnebeck's article from 1925, published in The Arts 8, no.4 titled "Bourdelle Speaks to His Puplis: From a Paris Diary."


Image:'La Grande Penelope', bronze sculpture by --Antoine Bourdelle--, 1912, --Honolulu Academy of Arts--.jpg|'La Grande Penelope', bronze sculpture by Antoine Bourdelle, 1912, Honolulu Academy of Artsmarker

Image:Bourdelle Osaka01s3200.jpg|Antoine Bourdelle's ‘La Libert'e’ in front of Daido Life Insurance Company headquarters in Osaka, Osaka prefecture, JapanImage:Bourdelle sculptress p1070128.jpg|Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, The sculptress at work, 1906, bronze, Stanford Museummarker, Stanford University, CaliforniaImage:Ingres par Antoine Bourdelle.jpg|Dominique Ingres by Antoine BourdelleImage:Le Jour et la Nuit par Antoine Bourdelle.JPG|’Le Jour et la Nuit’, marble sculpture by Antoine Bourdelle, 1903Image:Gustave Eiffel Monument.jpg|Gilt bronze portrait of Gustave Eiffel by Antoine Bourdelle beneath the Eiffel TowermarkerImage:Monumento al Gral Carlos M Alvear - de Antoine Bourdelle - Buenos Aires .JPG|Monument to General Carlos M. de Alvear by Antoine Bourdelle, Plaza Francia, Recoletamarker, Buenos Airesmarker, ArgentinamarkerImage:Mécislas Goldberg par Antoine Bourdelle.JPG|Bronze portrait of the art critic Mécislas Goldberg by Antoine Bourdelle


  • Colin Lemoine, Antoine Bourdelle. L'oeuvre à demeure, Paris, Paris-Musées, 2009
  • Bourdelle, Émile-Antoine, “Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, Sculptures and Drawings”, Perth, Western Australian Art Gallery, 1978.
  • Ottawa.National Gallery of Canada, “Antoine Bourdelle, 1861-1929”, New York, C. E. Slatkin Galleries, 1961.
  • Colin Lemoine, “Bourdelle”, Paris, Cercle d'art, 2004
  • “Antoine Bourdelle, passeur de la modernité", exhibition catalogue (curators Roxana Theodorescu, Juliette Laffon and Colin Lemoine / Catalogue Colin Lemoine), Bucarest, National Museum of Art , 2006
  • Colin Lemoine, “Le Fruit : une œuvre majuscule d’Antoine Bourdelle”, Ligeia, January-June 2005, n°57-58-59-60, p. 60-78
  • Colin Lemoine, “...sans ce modelé à la Rodin, à la XVIIIe siècle qui beurre le tout : Bourdelle et la question d'un primitivisme occidental”, Bulletin du musée Ingres, May 2006, n° 78, p. 49-66
  • Cléopâtre Sevastos, “Ma vie avec Bourdelle”, Paris-Musées-Editions des Cendres, 2005 (annoted edition by Colin Lemoine)
  • Véronique Gautherin, “L'Oeil et la main” (2000)
  • “Antoine Bourdelle, d'un siècle l'autre. L'eurythmie de la modernité”, exhibition catalogue by Colin Lemoine, Japan (Kitakyushu, Niigata, Takamatsu, Iwaki, Nagoya, Seoul), 2007-2008.

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