Louis Robert Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1848-1913)
The Sculptor’s Studio, ca. 1871
Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 35 1/4 in.
Louis-Robert was the son of sculptor Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887), whose atelier is depicted in the present painting. A sculptor as well as a painter, Louis was trained by his father and, at the École des Beaux-Arts, by Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889). Albert stands beside one of his works, discussing it with a visitor and a studio assistant. While this plaster of a female nude seated next to a herm has not been identified, it is typical of his frivolously classicizing works that were so popular during the Second Empire (1852-1870) and beyond. The sculpture next to it is known as The Abduction of Hippodamie(L’enlèvement), showing her being carried off by a centaur. That sculpture, which is known in various bronze and terracotta editions, is first documented in 1871, which provides some indication to the dating of this painting. Louis’s careful depiction of a sculptor’s workshop–with tools, smocks, plaster casts, casting equipment, and an assistant glimpsed in the background—enhances the documentary value of this work.