Jules Dalou

1838-1902 * France

Sculptor * Communard

Dalou with his wife and daughter in exile in London in 1876, painted by Lawrence Alma Tadema

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.

Poulain Chocolate produced a series of advertising prints featuring Famous sculptors including Jules Dalou and his best known work

In 1880…

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.

Dalou’s monument to the Republican and Dreyfusard Auguste Scheurer-Kestner was erected in 1908 in the Luxembourg Garden, just metres from the Palace that had become the home of the Senate, where Scheuere-Kesnter was vice president from 1894 until his death in 1899.


Le Maitron