A productive and innovative artist for his time, Albert-Ernest Carrier Belleuse has been described by the Oxford Art Encyclopedia as “one of the most prolific and versatile sculptors of the 19th century.” During the course of his long career Carrier produced busts, monuments, statuettes, and even designed china for a number of well known porcelain factories. Beginning his artistic career as a goldsmith, the artist traveled widely and worked in mediums such as ceramics and statuary. The artist’s career took off when Napoleon III bought a statue entitled Bacchante with a Herm of Dionysus. Carrier soon became well known for his beautiful representations of the female nude, particularly sculptures of undeniably enchanting women often surrounded by rich flora and fauna. The busts were less embellished and drew upon the realist school of representation. The sitters for these busts were primarily artists and politicians, renderings that now offer historians and art historians alike reliable representations of important but marginalized figures of the time.
Carrier’s great skill and reputation brought with it a studio busy with artistic apprentices of the day. Auguste Rodin, Jules Dalou and Alexandre Falguiere were among his most noteworthy pupils who received direction and inspiration from the artist. Rodin later immortalized Carrier with a bust in his likeness.
Carrier and Production
Beyond his association with Rodin and the beautiful forms he was able to create, the artist is most remembered for his penchant to embrace and develop work tailored for mass production of small statuary and decorative items. The greatly embellished designs were widely distributed and crept into the minds of Frenchmen and Europeans alike as one of the primary representatives of the grand Second Empire style. Found in fashionable continental collections, they are now beautiful and attainable records of a time when art was less concerned about concept and more concerned with masterfully portraying balanced, lively and opulent compositions.
As is well known by those with an interest in the City of Lights, Baron Haussmann’s city planning reworked medieval Paris and drove wide Boulevards through the city. This Second Empire endeavor created wide open spaces that were in desperate need of decoration and the period’s most influential artists answered the call. Carrier was one of the fortunate artists selected to decorate the newly reworked city, and many of his artistic endeavors are still on display through out the city. His art can be seen adorning the Louvre, the Teatre de la Renaissance and Charles Garnier’s Opera.
Carrier at MIR Appraisal Services
MIR has a sizable collection of 19th century bronze nudes, but the table-sized statue executed by Carrier is one of its most prized. The woman, slightly bent and in the midst of a growth of cattails, a beautiful and graceful nude that truly sets itself apart because of its grace and poise. The work is particularly notable for the signature that reads “A. Carrier,” a signature that dates the work to before 1868 when the artist began to sign his name “Carrier-Belleuse.” MIR accepts visits by appointment and encourages inquiries into art appraisal and consultation.
MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 814-8510
Hargrove, June. “Carrier-Belleuse, Albert-Ernst,” on Oxford Art Online.
“Albert-Ernst Carrier-Belleuse –Biography,” on the National Gallery of Art website.
Attractive China Plate from early Qing Dynasty
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