«Mes enfants»


To the delight and viewing pleasure of the few visitors that had the privilege of frequenting Calouste Gulbenkianís residence in Paris, one of the art collection pieces that was on display in his house was the natural size marble statue of Diana, the Roman hunting goddess. Considered the masterpiece of French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon, the most famous sculptor of the 18th century, the sculpture dates back to 1780 and was acquired by the Collector in 1930. His fondness for this art form was not limited to 17th century French sculpture. Indeed, his art collection is home to sculptures from the Classic Period, the Middle Ages, the 19th century, and even from the Art Deco movement, which became popular following the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts.

Equivalent to what Calouste Gulbenkian had done regarding other art forms, in order to further improve his knowledge of sculpture, he gathered a set of documentation on that art. Among several kinds of books, this section comprises monographs on the life and work of the most reputable sculptors of Western art history: PraxŪteles, Lisipo, Donatello, Miguel ¬ngelo, Verrochio, Houdon, Carpeaux, Rodin, just to name a few. Some of the books have the peculiarity of having marks due to Calouste Gulbenkianís attentive reading, as for example, Florentine sculptors of the Renaissance, which revolves around the work of Ghiberti, Donatello e Luca della Robbia. There are other more generic books either on particular periods of the history of sculpture, like Documents de sculpture française du Moyen Âge, or on specific regions and countries: La sculpture grecque à Delphes and Egyptian statues and statuettes. Moreover, this section even contains some works which deviate from the aesthetics preferences of Calouste Gulbenkian. It is therefore thought that the book by American art historian Charles Seymour, Jr., Tradition and experiment in modern sculpture, might have been offered as a gift to the Collector.

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