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Style Other / Ref.11018

Emile-François CHATROUSSE (1829-1896) - "The Reading", Salon of 1880

Width: 13''   33cm
Height: 25'' ⅝  65cm
Depth: 13''   33cm

France, 19th century

Statuary marble
Signed : « Chatrousse »
H: 65 ; L: 33 cm; d: 33 cm / H: 25’’9/16 ; L : 13’’ ; d: 13’’

This Statuary marble group was made by the French sculptor Emile-François Chatrousse (1829-1896) and was exhibited at the Salon of 1880 at the Palais des Champs-Elysés in Paris.

A young woman, nonchalantly seated with her head on her hand, devotes herself to the solitary pleasure of reading. The book she holds open between her delicate hands seems to absorb the reader. The young woman, with her shoulders and her open arms, is simply dressed with a dress, with detailed sculpted folds, that reveals her bare feet. Ivy leaves have been very finely carved on the block of the luxurious marble. From this scene emanates a great sweetness favourable for reveries.

This sculpture bears the number 6186 at the Salon of 1880. It enjoys a great success, as the critic Henry Jouin's eulogistic description shows:
" [...] the Reader, by par M. Chatrousse. Seated and withdrew into herself, a young woman holds an open book on her lap and stares at the informative pages she meditates. The unity of action is interpreted with measure and force. The whole body suffers the charm that escapes from the book like a perfume. I myself craned over the page, hoping to surprise the secret of this thoughtful ecstasy. Vain attempt. Our mortal eyes do not have the white eyes’s penetration of a marble ghost created by the powerful hand of statuary. The reader did not trouble me when she felt me near her. Absorbed by the stanzas or the narrative that flood her with an intimate light, she did not take care of her bare arms; but their distinguished curves, the serenity of a browless forehead, the delicacy and tranquility of the pensive lips, the hair, the clothing, the whole of this work, peaceful and lively work of M. Chatrousse, is marked by seal of superior talent.

This well known model was reproduced in a few copies. France State acquired the version exhibited at this Salon.
A lot of works created by Chatrousse are also preserved in French museums. This sculpture, A Parisian (French : Une parisienne), dated 1876, is for example exhibited at the Petit-Palais in Paris while the Museum of Grenoble has this Little grape picker (French : La Petite vendangeuse). Thanks to the quality of his productions, Chatrousse also had several public orders: for example, boulevard Saint-Marcel in Paris, with his Monument to Joan of Arc.

Student of the painter Alxandre Abel de Pujol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Emile-François Chatrousse began at the Salon of 1848. He was then the last student of François Rude, thanks to the count of Nieuwerkerke. Chatrousse exhibited at the Salon of 1853 a plaster depicting Queen Hortense and his son Louis Napoleon thanks to which he achieved a certain success. Napoleon III himself commissioned a cast of this bronze model.