French Sculpture Census

Stories from the French Sculpture Census

From beloved works by Matisse and Rodin in museums to American icons like the Statue of Liberty, French sculpture has had an indelible impact on the cultural landscape of the U.S. In celebration of a website that reveals the extent of this shared history, Laure de Margerie and panelists from the project’s international partner institutions share stories of works drawn from the database of the French Sculpture Census.

Laure de Margerie, Director of the French Sculpture Census, was Senior Archivist and head of the Sculpture Archives at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, from 1978 through 2009. In this position she curated several exhibitions including Facing the Other: Charles Cordier (1827-1905), Ethnographic Sculptor (Paris, Quebec City, New York, 2004/05). She was part of the team who installed the sculpture collection at the opening of the museum in 1986 and co-authored the collection catalogue (1986). De Margerie also worked as archivist in charge of historic buildings in Normandy in Rouen (1983-1985) and oversaw rights and reproductions at the National Archives in Paris (1991-1992). She was awarded a fellowship at the Clark Art Institute, in Williamstown, MA (2000/01), and was the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department guest scholar at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA (Fall 2011).

The Census of French Sculpture in American Public Collections is the first comprehensive catalogue of French sculpture in the United States. It lists all existing French sculpture, dating from 1500 to 1960, in American public collections. Not only does it take account of works in museums, but also in historic houses, government buildings (the White House, for example), corporate collections, and public space. The scope of the census is vast, both in space and time, and currently includes 7,500 works by 680 artists in 305 locations.

Hosted by the Nasher Sculpture Center and supported by a consortium of institutions in the U.S. and France, the French Sculpture Census will be the largest existing website solely dedicated to sculpture. The Census of French Sculpture in American Public Collections is a project of the University of Texas at Dallas and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, in coproduction with the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA), Paris, the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, and the Musée Rodin, Paris, with the participation of the Ecole du Louvre, Paris.The website launched in fall 2014 at frenchsculpture.org.


Richard Brettell

Richard Brettell is among the foremost authorities in the world on Impressionism and French Painting of the period 1830-1930. With three degrees from Yale University, he has taught at The University of Texas, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, Yale University, and Harvard University and is currently Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies and the Edith O’Donnell Distinguished Chair at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is also an international museum consultant with projects in Europe, Asia, and the United States. He established the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Museums at UT Dallas. 

In 1980, Dr. Brettell was appointed Searle Curator of European Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1988, he became the McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). Since leaving the DMA, Dr. Brettell has been involved with the purchase of the M. H.W. Ritchie Collection for the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, with the building and renovation program of the Portland Museum of Art (Oregon), and with the Millennium Gift of the Sara Lee Collection, for which the company won the National Medal for the Arts in 1999. He is Senior Advisor for International Art for the National Gallery of Australia and is working with Professor Stephen Eisenman of Northwestern University to catalogue the collection of 19th and 20th century French Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California. 

Laure de Margerie

Laure de Margerie, Director of the French Sculpture Census, was Senior Archivist and head of the Sculpture Archives at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, from 1978 through 2009. In this position she curated several exhibitions including Facing the Other: Charles Cordier (1827-1905), Ethnographic Sculptor (Paris, Quebec City, New York, 2004/05). She was part of the team who installed the sculpture collection at the opening of the museum in 1986 and co-authored the collection catalogue (1986). De Margerie also worked as archivist in charge of historic buildings in Normandy in Rouen (1983-1985) and oversaw rights and reproductions at the National Archives in Paris (1991-1992). She was awarded a fellowship at the Clark Art Institute, in Williamstown, MA (2000/01), and was the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department guest scholar at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA (fall 2011).

Jed Morse

Jed Morse is Chief Curator of the Nasher Sculpture Center. A specialist in Spanish modernism and modern and contemporary sculpture, Morse received a Master of Arts degree in art history from the University of Texas at Austin.  Since 1999, he has held curatorial positions at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center where he has contributed to such exhibitions and catalogues as Henry Moore: Sculpting the 20th Century (2001), David Smith: Drawing and Sculpting (2005), and Matisse: Painter as Sculptor (2007).  Morse has also organized numerous exhibitions, including Jaume Plensa: Genus and Species (2010); Revelation: The Art of James Magee (2010); Tony Cragg: Seeing Things (2011), and Return to Earth:Ceramic Sculpture of Fontana, Melotti, Miró, Noguchi, and Picasso, 1943–1963 (2013). In addition to his duties at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Morse has contributed to books such as Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudí, Miró, Dalí (Cleveland Museum of Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006), and has lectured widely on a variety of topics. 

Amélie Simier

A graduate of the Ecole du Louvre and of the Ecole nationale du Patrimoine, Amélie Simier joined  the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris in 1999 as curator in charge of the sculpture department. She curated two exhibitions devoted to major figures of 19th century French sculpture : the sculptor/ceramist Jean Carriès, and the sculptor Jules Dalou. She has recently published the catalogue raisonné of the works by Dalou in the Petit Palais collection. Since 2011, she is the director of the Musée Bourdelle and the Musée Zadkine, two wonderfully atmospheric artist’s studio/museums in Montparnasse, Paris, once the homes and studios of sculptors Antoine Bourdelle and Ossip Zadkine.


Sponsors

Support for the 360 series is underwritten in part by Sylvia Hougland, in honor of her husband, Curtis Hougland.
Supported in part by: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs
Media Partner: Glasstire