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Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau (Detail)
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James
Pradier
Swiss sculptor
born 1790- died 1852

Also known as:
Jean-Jacques Pradier, Jean-Jacques

Nationality:
Swiss

Student of:

Teacher of:

Member of:
Academie des Beaux-Arts

Professor at:
Ecole des Beaux-Arts


Biographical Information

PRADIER, JAMES (1792-1852), French sculptor, was born at Geneva. He was a member of the French Academy, and a popular sculptor of the pre-Romantic period, representing in France the drawing-room classicism which Canova illustrated at Rome. Pradier left for Paris in 1807 to work with his elder brother, an engraver. He won a Prix de Rome that enabled him to study in Rome from 1814 to 1818. He studied under Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in Paris. In 1827 he became a member of the Academie des Beaux-Arts and a professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Pradier oversaw the finish of his sculptures himself. He was a friend of the Romantic poets Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo and Théophile Gautier, and his atelier was a center, presided over by his beautiful mistress, Juliette Drouet, who married Hugo in 1833.

The cool neoclassical surface finish of his sculptures is charged with an eroticism that their mythological themes can barely disguise. At the Salon of 1834, Pradier's Satyr and Bacchante created a scandalous sensation. Some claimed to recognize the features of the sculptor and his mistress, Juliette Drouet. When the prudish government of Louis-Philippe refused to purchase it, Count Anatole Demidoff bought it and took it to his palazzo in Florence. (It has since come back to the Louvre.)

His chief works are the Niobe group (1822), Atalanta (1850), Psyche (1824), Sappho (1852) (all in the Louvre), Prometheus (Tuileries Gardens), a bas-relief on the triumphal arch of the Carrousel, the figures of Fame on the Arc des Étoile, and a statue of J. J. Rousseau for Geneva. Besides these mention should be made of his Three Graces (1831).

Other famous sculptures by Pradier are his twelve Victories inside the dome of the Invalides. Aside from large-scale sculptures Pradier collaborated with Froment-Meurice, designing jewelry in a 'Renaissance-Romantic' style.

He is buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Much of the contents of his studio were bought up after his death by the city museum of Geneva.

In 1846 Gustave Flaubert said of him:

This is a great artist, a true Greek, the most antique of all the moderns; a man who is distracted by nothing, not by politics, nor socialism, and who, like a true workman, sleeves rolled up, is there to do his task morning til night with the will to do well and the love of his art.

An exhibition, Statues de chair: sculptures de James Pradier (1790-1852) at Geneva's Musée d'art et d'histoire (October 1985 - February 1986) and Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, February - May 1986) roused some interest in Pradier's career and esthetic.

Source:
  • Compiled from entries in the Wikipedia and the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica.

  • La Confession

    Translated title: The Confession
    Bronze
    35.5 x 20 cm
    (13.98" x 7.87")
    Private collection

    Added: 2002-05-23
    La Confession
    Satyr and Bacchante

    1834
    Marble
    120 x 100 cm
    (47.24" x 39.37")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    The Louvre
    Added: 2002-06-14
    Satyr and Bacchante
    La Toilette d'Atalante

    Translated title: The Toilette of Atalante
    1850
    Marble
    97 x 60 x 75 cm
    (38.19" x 23.62" x 29.53")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    La Toilette d'Atalante
    La Toilette d'Atalante [detail #1]

    Translated title: The Toilette of Atalante
    1850
    Marble
    97 x 60 x 75 cm
    (38.19" x 23.62" x 29.53")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    La Toilette d'Atalante [detail #2]

    Translated title: The Toilette of Atalante
    1850
    Marble
    97 x 60 x 75 cm
    (38.19" x 23.62" x 29.53")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    Les Trois Grâces

    Translated title: The Three Graces
    c1831
    Marble
    172 x 102 x 45 cm
    (67.72" x 40.16" x 17.72")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    Les Trois Grâces
    Les Trois Graces [detail #1]

    Translated title: The Three Graces
    c1831
    Marble
    172 x 102 x 45 cm
    (67.72" x 40.16" x 17.72")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    Les Trois Graces  [detail #1]
    Les Trois Graces [detail #2]

    Translated title: The Three Graces
    c1831
    Marble
    172 x 102 x 45 cm
    (67.72" x 40.16" x 17.72")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    Les Trois Graces  [detail #2]
    Niobide blessé

    Translated title: Wounded Niobide
    c1822
    Marble
    146 x 124 x 55 cm
    (57.48" x 48.82" x 21.65")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    Niobide blessé
    Niobide blessé [detail #1]

    Translated title: Wounded Niobide
    c1822
    Marble
    146 x 124 x 55 cm
    (57.48" x 48.82" x 21.65")
    Louvre (Paris, France)

    Added: 2004-10-23
    Niobide blessé [detail #1]