1838-1902 * France
Sculptor * Communard
After his return from exile under the general amnesty of 1789, from 1880 until his death in 1902 Dalou lived in an apartment in the Avenue du Maine. His daughter was mentally ill and required the continuous presence of his wife or another adult.
Initially Dalou rented a studio in the Artists Collective in the Rue Denfert-Rochereau. But from 1881 Dalou’s workshop was very close to his flat in the then Impasse de Maine, a 150m private road. now 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle.
It was in the Impasse de Maine workshop that Dalou produced many of his masterpieces. The reactionary politics of the immediate post-Commune period had given way to a more liberal environment, one in which successive republican governments saw the major threat to the country coming from the monarchists and Bonapartists on the right of the political spectrum.
Dalou therefore became an acceptable recipient for those with public funds to distribute.
One of his earliest large bids was to design a sculpture to feature in the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the French Revolution in Place de la Republique. His proposal didn’t win, but as runner-up he was given a commission for the piece to provide the central sculpture in the Place de la Nation.
Dalou’s last work was erected six years after his death, a memorial to Auguste Scheurer-Kestner (1833-1899), the vice-president of the Senate and the first politician to defend Alfred Dreyfus’ innocence.