Sculptors and Design Reform in France, 1848 to 1895 : Sculpture and the Decorative Arts book cover
1st Edition

Sculptors and Design Reform in France, 1848 to 1895
Sculpture and the Decorative Arts

ISBN 9781138548909
Published April 25, 2018 by Routledge
248 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Challenging distinctions between fine and decorative art, this book begins with a critique of the Rodin scholarship, to establish how the selective study of his oeuvre has limited our understanding of French nineteenth-century sculpture. The book's central argument is that we need to include the decorative in the study of sculpture, in order to present a more accurate and comprehensive account of the practice and profession of sculpture in this period. Drawing on new archival sources, sculptors and objects, this is the first sustained study of how and why French sculptors collaborated with state and private luxury goods manufacturers between 1848 and 1895. Organised chronologically, the book identifies three historically-situated frameworks, through which sculptors attempted to validate themselves and their work in relation to industry: industrial art, decorative art and objet d'art. Detailed readings are offered of sculptors who operated within and outside the Salon, including Sévin, Chéret, Carrier-Belleuse and Rodin; and of diverse objects and materials, from Sèvres vases, to pewter plates by Desbois, and furniture by Barbedienne and Carabin. By contesting the false separation of art from industry, Claire Jones's study restores the importance of the sculptor-manufacturer relationship, and of the decorative, to the history of sculpture.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: the false separation of fine and decorative sculpture: problems with the Rodin Scholarship for the Study of French Sculpture, 1848-1895; Sculptors and industrial art, 1848-1870; Decorative sculpture and the Third Republic, 1870-1889; Decorative sculpture and the fine arts, 1890-1895; Conclusion: the limits of decorative sculpture; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

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Claire Jones's research centres on nineteenth-century French and British sculpture and the decorative arts. Formerly Curator of Furniture at the Bowes Museum, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of York, Claire is currently writing a new monograph on Victorian sculpture.


'This book provides a richly informative analysis of the intersecting practices within French sculpture and decorative arts. It opens up a neglected field and proposes a more inclusive research methodology which (it is hoped) will be extended beyond the confines of France.' Decorative Arts Society Newsletter

'This book is an important contribution towards the growing interest in art history to explore design and decorative art from a more critical and scholarly perspective. It is a significant title for the history of art and design.' ARLIS

' important contribution to the field of late nineteenth-century ornamental sculpture and the sculptors who worked within this field.' H-France

'Clarity of purpose and historical rigour underpin Claire Jones’s study of sculpture and the decorative arts in France in the second half of the nineteenth century.As well as making an important contribution to the scholarship on individual figures such as Barbedienne and Sévin and drawing our attention a range of fascinating and understudied objects, the painstaking archival research that forms the backbone to each chapter will be particularly welcomed by specialistsof nineteenth-century French art.' Sculpture Journal

'Jones’ monograph greatly expands our knowledge of French sculpture and decorative arts—and the complex interplay between the two—between 1848 and 1895. The author convincingly shows some of the ways in which "the division between private, state, commercial, fine and decorative" (p. 109) was not nearly as clear cut as previous scholarship has asserted. Just as importantly, this book should serve as a model and a springboard for similarly fruitful research on the role of artists and artisans in design reform and the connections between "high" and "low" art in this and other periods.' Journal of Design History

'Claire Jones’ Sculpture and Design Reform in France 1848–1895 signals an exciting inquiry into the relationship between French sculpture and decorative arts in the nineteenth century. ...Jones’s text represents a necessary addition to scholarship and is a detailed contribution to the studies of sculpture and design in the nineteenth century. Her central idea asks us to reconsider our assumptions about the traditional hierarchies of art—and art history—and will promote important future studies.' French History