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Le Grand Paysan

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Le Grand Paysan

Artist: Aimé-Jules Dalou (French, 1838–1902)
Culture: French
Date: c. 1897–1902 (cast c. 1903–1920)
Medium: Bronze
30 1/2 x 9 x 8 7/8 inches (77.5 x 22.9 x 22.5 cm)
Classification: Sculpture
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Label Text:Aimé-Jules Dalou
French, 1838-1902
Le Grand Paysan (The Large Peasant), modeled 1897-1902
Bronze cast by Susse frères, ca. 1903-1920
Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Aimé-Jules Dalou, concerned with the plight of ordinary workers in France, designed this figure for his great Monument to Labor, begun in 1889 and still unfinished at his death in 1902. He made a number of clay sketches of industrial and agricultural workers, based on first-hand studies of laborers at sites such as Grenouvilliers, outside Paris, made in 1894. The sympathetic and heroic portrayal of a peasant rolling up his sleeves recalls similar depictions by other nineteenth-century French painters such as Courbet, Millet, and Pissarro. Dalou's original 1897 terracotta sketch for the Large Peasant is today at the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris, as is a plaster model made in 1898-99. In 1899 Dalou signed a contract with the Susse Foundry in Paris, granting them exclusive rights to cast bronzes after his work.

Provenance: Purchased June 11, 2001 through (Sotheby's, London, lot 245) by Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 2001.16.1