French sculptor who, in his time, was famous for the wide range of his work—from sober monuments to domestic ornaments (torchères and tabletop elements). He won critical acclaim and state patronage for such monuments as his marble Messiah of 1867 and triggered heated debate with his figures of voluptuous women at the Salon, such as Angélique. A master of anatomy and characterization, he was a highly sought-after portraitist. He also was a major force behind the establishment in the early 1860s of what later became the Museum of Decorative Arts, an institution that elevated the status of the applied arts in France. For his role in this he was made an officer of the Legion of Honour in 1855 and further elevated in 1867. His celebrated pupil, Auguste Rodin, assisted him at Brussels in 1871 on the Caryatides of the new Bourse.
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