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‘That pungent question of authorship’: the reception of the sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838

Marjan Sterckx (UGent)
(2019) SCULPTURE JOURNAL. 28(1). p.35-54
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Abstract
The repeated mockery in 1838 in the French magazine La Mode of the artistic reputation of the French princess and sculptor Marie d’Orléans had political and religious causes, notably the strongly anti-Orléanist and ultra-Catholic stance of the periodical. Its editors fiercely attacked the Orléans family and strongly disapproved of the Protestant marriage of Marie d’Orléans in October 1837 and the Protestant baptism of her son. That she was attacked mostly on the grounds of her artistry seems logical; not only is every artist vulnerable in his or her artistic production – critics could make or break careers in art – but there was already a tradition of questioning the authenticity of women sculptors’ work before 1838. The parodies in La Mode in 1838 reproduced and contributed to the widespread belief that women could not possibly be the true authors of their sculptures, even if they simply followed standard sculpting practices, including the involvement of assistants. The allegations about Marie’s undisclosed use of helping hands (who were named) were no doubt based on rumours stemming from her close collaboration with her drawing teacher Ary Scheffer and her praticien Auguste Trouchaud. That they had their own artistic careers (Scheffer) or at least such ambitions (Trouchaud) further complicated the matter, even if Scheffer was chiefly a painter who only started sculpting together with his pupil. Presumably, the (alleged) physical frailty and aristocratic descent of the princess, in the context of an increasing number of female amateurs, was not in her favour either in her pursuit of a credible and earnest reputation as a sculptor. The allegations against Marie d’Orléans as an artist in La Mode in 1838 are not a rare and isolated case, but another proof of an international and persistent phenomenon: the application of a double standard in the reception of sculptors of the male and female sex.
Keywords
sculpture, women sculptors, France, Paris, 19th century, Marie d'Orléans, Ary Scheffer, creation process, gender, authorship, praticien, practice, politics, religion, La Mode

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MLA
Sterckx, Marjan. “‘That Pungent Question of Authorship’: The Reception of the Sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838.” SCULPTURE JOURNAL, vol. 28, no. 1, Liverpool University Press, 2019, pp. 35–54.
APA
Sterckx, M. (2019). “That pungent question of authorship”: the reception of the sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838. SCULPTURE JOURNAL, 28(1), 35–54.
Chicago author-date
Sterckx, Marjan. 2019. “‘That Pungent Question of Authorship’: The Reception of the Sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838.” SCULPTURE JOURNAL 28 (1): 35–54.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Sterckx, Marjan. 2019. “‘That Pungent Question of Authorship’: The Reception of the Sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838.” SCULPTURE JOURNAL 28 (1): 35–54.
Vancouver
1.
Sterckx M. “That pungent question of authorship”: the reception of the sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838. SCULPTURE JOURNAL. 2019;28(1):35–54.
IEEE
[1]
M. Sterckx, “‘That pungent question of authorship’: the reception of the sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838,” SCULPTURE JOURNAL, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 35–54, 2019.
@article{1503025,
  abstract     = {The repeated mockery in 1838 in the French magazine La Mode of the artistic reputation of the French princess and sculptor Marie d’Orléans had political and religious causes, notably the strongly anti-Orléanist and ultra-Catholic stance of the periodical. Its editors fiercely attacked the Orléans family and strongly disapproved of the Protestant marriage of
Marie d’Orléans in October 1837 and the Protestant baptism of her son. That she was attacked mostly on the grounds of her artistry seems logical; not only is every artist vulnerable in his or her artistic production – critics could make
or break careers in art – but there was already a tradition of questioning the authenticity of women sculptors’ work before 1838. The parodies in La Mode in 1838 reproduced and contributed to the widespread belief that women could not possibly be the true authors of their sculptures, even if they simply followed standard sculpting practices, including the involvement of assistants. The allegations about Marie’s undisclosed use of helping hands (who were named) were no doubt based on rumours stemming from her close collaboration with her drawing teacher Ary Scheffer and her praticien Auguste Trouchaud. That they had their own artistic careers (Scheffer) or at least such ambitions (Trouchaud)
further complicated the matter, even if Scheffer was chiefly a painter who only started sculpting together with his pupil. Presumably, the (alleged) physical frailty and aristocratic descent of the princess, in the context of an increasing
number of female amateurs, was not in her favour either in her pursuit of a credible and earnest reputation as a sculptor. The allegations against Marie d’Orléans as an artist in La Mode in 1838 are not a rare and isolated case, but
another proof of an international and persistent phenomenon: the application of a double standard in the reception of sculptors of the male and female sex.},
  author       = {Sterckx, Marjan},
  issn         = {1366-2724 },
  journal      = {SCULPTURE JOURNAL},
  keywords     = {sculpture,women sculptors,France,Paris,19th century,Marie d'Orléans,Ary Scheffer,creation process,gender,authorship,praticien,practice,politics,religion,La Mode},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {35--54},
  publisher    = {Liverpool University Press},
  title        = {‘That pungent question of authorship’: the reception of the sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3828/sj.2019.28.1.3},
  volume       = {28},
  year         = {2019},
}

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