This major retrospective explores the life and work of the exceptionally gifted, deeply tormented sculptor who defined the heady atmosphere of the Second Empire in France (1852–1871). The first full-scale exhibition in thirty-nine years devoted to Carpeaux (1827–1875), it features about 150 works including sculptures, paintings, and drawings, which are organized around the major projects that the artist undertook during his brief and stormy career. Major international loans that have never before traveled to the United States, or have not been here for decades, come from the Musée d'Orsay; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Valenciennes (Carpeaux's birthplace); the Louvre, Petit Palais, and other French institutions; and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. Important loans also come from the Getty in Los Angeles and from private collections.
Carpeaux is best known today for a single masterpiece, the Metropolitan Museum's own Ugolino and His Sons, yet he was a multifaceted and prolific artist. A sculptor of emotion, both grand and intimate, he was drawn to extremes from Michelangelo to Watteau while retaining respectful admiration for his peers in French sculpture. A precursor to Rodin and a host of other early modern sculptors, he imbued his work with strong movement and visceral drive. He strove for anatomical realism in all media, but especially in his marble sculptures and busts, which seem to capture flesh and blood in stone.
Accompanied by a catalogue and an Audio Guide
"Over the course of nine galleries and 150 works, [the curators weave] together art, biography and history into a rich, illuminating narrative."—New York Times
"Resplendent"—Wall Street Journal
"…walking among his works is like being at a great party with people that you are happy to meet."—The Record
The exhibition is made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation.
Additional support is provided by the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund and the Diane W.
and James E. Burke Fund.
The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée d'Orsay.
The catalogue is made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and the
Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc.