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‘Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France’ : an art critical dialogue between Belgium and France

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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 devote elaborate words of praise to him. In response, the Belgian avant-garde journal, L’Art Moderne, ‘promotes’ 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 chapter 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
art critique, national schools, Belgian nineteenth-century sculpture, Constantin Meunier, l'Art Moderne

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Chicago
Wijnsouw, Jana, Tom Verschaffel, and Marjan Sterckx. 2017. “‘Avec Les Sculpteurs Belges, Nous Ne Sortons Pas De La France’ : an Art Critical Dialogue Between Belgium and France.” In Critique D’art Et Nationalisme : Regards Français Sur L'art Européen Au XIXe Siècle, ed. Jean-Yves Andrieux and Marianne Grivel, 5:123–134. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Vienna: Peter Lang.
APA
Wijnsouw, J., Verschaffel, T., & Sterckx, M. (2017). “Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France” : an art critical dialogue between Belgium and France. In J.-Y. Andrieux & M. Grivel (Eds.), Critique d’art et nationalisme : regards français sur l'art européen au XIXe siècle (Vol. 5, pp. 123–134). Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Vienna: Peter Lang.
Vancouver
1.
Wijnsouw J, Verschaffel T, Sterckx M. “Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France” : an art critical dialogue between Belgium and France. In: Andrieux J-Y, Grivel M, editors. Critique d’art et nationalisme : regards français sur l'art européen au XIXe siècle. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Vienna: Peter Lang; 2017. p. 123–34.
MLA
Wijnsouw, Jana, Tom Verschaffel, and Marjan Sterckx. “‘Avec Les Sculpteurs Belges, Nous Ne Sortons Pas De La France’ : an Art Critical Dialogue Between Belgium and France.” Critique D’art Et Nationalisme : Regards Français Sur L'art Européen Au XIXe Siècle. Ed. Jean-Yves Andrieux & Marianne Grivel. Vol. 5. Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Vienna: Peter Lang, 2017. 123–134. Print.
@incollection{5686730,
  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 devote elaborate words of praise to him. In response, the Belgian avant-garde journal, L{\textquoteright}Art Moderne, {\textquoteleft}promotes{\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 chapter 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 and Verschaffel, Tom and Sterckx, Marjan},
  booktitle    = {Critique d'art et nationalisme : regards fran\c{c}ais sur l'art europ{\'e}en au XIXe si{\`e}cle},
  editor       = {Andrieux, Jean-Yves and Grivel, Marianne},
  isbn         = {9782807604452},
  keyword      = {art critique,national schools,Belgian nineteenth-century sculpture,Constantin Meunier,l'Art Moderne},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {123--134},
  publisher    = {Peter Lang},
  series       = {Pour une histoire nouvelle de l'Europe},
  title        = {{\textquoteleft}Avec les sculpteurs belges, nous ne sortons pas de la France{\textquoteright} : an art critical dialogue between Belgium and France},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3726/b11461},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2017},
}

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