Emile Boisseau 

Emile Boisseau 

Biography of Emile Boisseau  ( 1842-1923 )

Attracted at a very early age by arts, churches and monuments, Émile Boisseau left his birthplace to go to Bourges, where he met a sculptor and archaeologist who hired him for the restoration of some diocesan buildings. The sculpture of the ornaments and figures stimulated his taste for all forms of statuaries.

Once in Paris, he took drawing classes, and thanks to a scholarship, joined the École des Beaux-arts and Dumont’s studio. In 1869, he sent the bronze statue of the General Dupin to the Salon and "Céluda pleurant son enfant", both noticed by art critics. 

He regularly exhibited at the Salon de Paris, then at the Salon of French Artists. He was particularly fond of carving marble, sometimes adding bronze, onyx or other materials. His main works were "La fille de Céluda pleurant son enfant" (medal in 1869), "Figaro" in 1874, "Le Génie du mal" (2nd prize in 1880), "La Japonaise" in 1882, "Le Crépuscule" (first prize, 1883, Palais de L'Élysée), "La Défense du foyer" (1884, Jardin du Champ-de-Mars). Secretary of the jury of sculpture in the fine arts section at the Exposition Universelle in 1900, president of the jury of sculpture at the 1904 Salon, Boisseau was also the treasurer at the Society of French Artists in 1892. He received the Legion of Honor in 1886 and was promoted to an officer’s rank in 1900. He was also Commander of the Order of Saint-Stanislas of Russia.

Mr Henry Jouin, in an article published in the Fine Arts Gazette in 1883, entitled "The Salon of 1883" wrote: "Monsieur Boisseau represented ‘Dusk’ in the form of a genie lightening her night lamp while children are sleeping under her powerful wings. The artist gave a woman’s body to the character he created. The look and behavior seem maternal. ‘ Dusk’ is a sober and graceful composition ".

 In the "Livre d’Or" of the Salon of 1883, this marble group was described by Boisseau:

Silence is coming. In the shadow,
When the shepherd’s star shines,
Nature under a dark sky
Quietly goes to sleep, in the Night."

This little poem perfectly illustrates his model ; this naked woman with wings, a star on her forehead, sitting down on a cloud. From her hands up above her head, she is holding a lighted lamp. At her feet, to her left, two sleeping naked children.

This life-size marble, awarded with a first class medal at the Salon, was acquired by the State in 1885. It is currently exhibited at Cahors, in the Tassart park. It is referenced in the State collections under the number RF734.

This particular model is a reduced version of the Salon model, created around 1885–1890. Boisseau also made marble models of the same subject. These models, of different sizes, show slight variations in comparison with the 1883 model: the woman is covered with a floating veil whereas she is totally naked in the original model.

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