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'Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France', Art critical exchange between Belgium and France

Jana Wijnsouw (UGent)
Author
Organization
Abstract
Nineteenth-century Belgian and French sculpture were part of similar, often entwined developments. The presence of French sculptors, such as Auguste Rodin or Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse in Belgium coincided with attempts to develop Belgium’s own ‘national’ sculpture school. Simultaneously, almost all major French sculptors exhibited at the Belgian Salons, while every Belgian sculptor aspiring fame, studied and exhibited in Paris. In 1878, in a review of the Fine Arts exhibition at the World Fair in Paris, sculptor Henri Chapu stated, ‘Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France. Beaucoup se sont formés à Paris et leur style n’est pas sensiblement distinct de celui de notre école’. At the same time, however, art critics also stressed the artists’ origin and nationality, linking them to national characteristics and establishing a hierarchy of ‘national schools’. Next to this categorization, the transnational exchange between artists also had a significant equivalent in the art critical discourse. Many Belgian francophile magazines reported of the latest developments in Paris, while French critics discussed the presence of French artists in Belgium and Belgian artists in Paris, contributing to the mental proximity between these two nations. The significant effect of this exchange is illustrated by the case of Constantin Meunier, whose early sculptures are reviewed in the Belgian press in an often positive, yet also remarkably brief way, while French art critics devoted elaborate words of praise to him. In response, the Belgian avant-garde journal, L’Art Moderne, ‘promoted’ Meunier’s art by publishing excerpts from these French magazines. This way, the Parisian art critics’ high praise gradually reached Belgium and caused a rise in popularity for Meunier. This paper focusses on the role and importance of art critical magazines in the reporting and moulding of the complex exchange between French and Belgian sculpture. Special attention is paid to nationality as a means of classification. Finally, the simultaneous dialogue between artists and art critics of different nations, as well as the used terminology and its contribution to a hierarchy of national schools are examined.
Keywords
L'Art Moderne, Constantin Meunier, art critical exchange, national schools, sculpture, nineteenth century

Citation

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Chicago
Wijnsouw, Jana. 2014. “‘Avec Les Sculpteurs Belges, Nous Ne Sortons Pas De La France’, Art Critical Exchange Between Belgium and France.” In Critique D’art Et Nationalisme, Regards Français Sur L'art Européen Au XIXe Siècle, Abstracts.
APA
Wijnsouw, J. (2014). “Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France”, Art critical exchange between Belgium and France. Critique d’art et nationalisme, Regards français sur l'art européen au XIXe siècle, Abstracts. Presented at the Critique d’art et nationalisme, Regards français sur l'art européen au XIXe siècle.
Vancouver
1.
Wijnsouw J. “Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France”, Art critical exchange between Belgium and France. Critique d’art et nationalisme, Regards français sur l'art européen au XIXe siècle, Abstracts. 2014.
MLA
Wijnsouw, Jana. “‘Avec Les Sculpteurs Belges, Nous Ne Sortons Pas De La France’, Art Critical Exchange Between Belgium and France.” Critique D’art Et Nationalisme, Regards Français Sur L'art Européen Au XIXe Siècle, Abstracts. 2014. Print.
@inproceedings{4374704,
  abstract     = {Nineteenth-century Belgian and French sculpture were part of similar, often entwined developments. The presence of French sculptors, such as Auguste Rodin or Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse in Belgium coincided with attempts to develop Belgium{\textquoteright}s own {\textquoteleft}national{\textquoteright} sculpture school. Simultaneously, almost all major French sculptors exhibited at the Belgian Salons, while every Belgian sculptor aspiring fame, studied and exhibited in Paris. In 1878, in a review of the Fine Arts exhibition at the World Fair in Paris, sculptor Henri Chapu stated, {\textquoteleft}Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France. Beaucoup se sont form{\'e}s {\`a} Paris et leur style n{\textquoteright}est pas sensiblement distinct de celui de notre {\'e}cole{\textquoteright}. At the same time, however, art critics also stressed the artists{\textquoteright} origin and nationality, linking them to national characteristics and establishing a hierarchy of {\textquoteleft}national schools{\textquoteright}. Next to this categorization, the transnational exchange between artists also had a significant equivalent in the art critical discourse. Many Belgian francophile magazines reported of the latest developments in Paris, while French critics discussed the presence of French artists in Belgium and Belgian artists in Paris, contributing to the mental proximity between these two nations. The significant effect of this exchange is illustrated by the case of Constantin Meunier, whose early sculptures are reviewed in the Belgian press in an often positive, yet also remarkably brief way, while French art critics devoted elaborate words of praise to him. In response, the Belgian avant-garde journal, L{\textquoteright}Art Moderne, {\textquoteleft}promoted{\textquoteright} Meunier{\textquoteright}s art by publishing excerpts from these French magazines. This way, the Parisian art critics{\textquoteright} high praise gradually reached Belgium and caused a rise in popularity for Meunier. This paper focusses on the role and importance of art critical magazines in the reporting and moulding of the complex exchange between French and Belgian sculpture. Special attention is paid to nationality as a means of classification. Finally, the simultaneous dialogue between artists and art critics of different nations, as well as the used terminology and its contribution to a hierarchy of national schools are examined.},
  author       = {Wijnsouw, Jana},
  booktitle    = {Critique d'art et nationalisme, Regards fran\c{c}ais sur l'art europ{\'e}en au XIXe si{\`e}cle, Abstracts},
  keyword      = {L'Art Moderne,Constantin Meunier,art critical exchange,national schools,sculpture,nineteenth century},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Paris, France},
  title        = {'Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France', Art critical exchange between Belgium and France},
  year         = {2014},
}