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founders of modern Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
1827 - 1875
The son and grandson of stonemasons, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux was born in 1827 in Valenciennes and moved to Paris at the age of eleven. Beginning in the early 1840s he studied at the Petite Ecole, the state school for training in the applied arts, formally called the Ecole Gratuite de Dessin, before entering the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1844, where he changed masters repeatedly, oscillating between typical student ambition (optimal credentials for the Prix de Rome) and his interest in more liberal approaches. Carpeaux moved from Ecole painter Abel de Pujol (1785-1861), to the independent sculptor Franois Rude, and finally to the prestigious Ecole sculptor Francisque-Joseph Duret (1804-1865). After winning lesser competitions--despite being caught cheating--Carpeaux was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1854, but outstanding imperial commissions and illness delayed his departure until 1856.
Once in Rome Carpeaux intensified his reputation as institutional bad boy, canny professional maneuverer, and provocative artist. As a pensionnaire he battled repeatedly with the Villa Medici authorities and flouted Ecole policy. Yet his major envois--the Neapolitan Fisherboy and multi-figural Ugolino (both begun 1857)--introduced his name in Paris and provided the artistic and commercial germs for his entire life. His pre-eminence, as the star among emerging sculptors, was established at the Salon of 1863, where he exhibited finished versions of those two works as well as his new state portrait bust of the emperor's powerful cousin, Princess Mathilde, which earned him a first-class medal.
He entered the imperial circle in 1864 as artistic tutor to the Prince Imperial, and executed the boy's bust and full-scale portrait statue for the prince's parents (both mid-1860s, marble; Muse d'Orsay, Paris). He also received some of the most significant monumental commissions of the period: the architectural decoration of the Pavillon de Flore of the Palais du Louvre (1863-1866, Imperial France Enlightening the World and the Triumph of Flora); and The Dance (1865-1869) for the facade of the Paris Opra. His native Valenciennes commissioned several public projects between 1860 and 1884, including a monument to another of its native artists, Antoine Watteau (1684-1721).
This extraordinary activity was interrupted by the upheavals after the fall of the Second Empire and by Carpeaux's increasing frailty with cancer. He executed some smaller figures and portraits upon commission and completed his monumental projects in Paris (1868-1874, Observatory Fountain, Jardin du Luxembourg). He mainly focused on amassing income through commercial edition, hoping to recoup his devastating financial losses from those projects and from the war. Estranged from his family, Carpeaux spent the last two years of his life traveling, in the care of patrons, and in clinics. He died in 1875.
An ambitious entrepreneur even as an Ecole student--a flagrant violation of the academic policy forbidding commerce--Carpeaux produced serial works throughout his career. Most were reductions or spinoffs of his Salon figures, public monuments, or celebrated portraits. They emerged in a variety of materials, dimensions, and mounts, executed by numerous sources: celebrated bronze founders, the state Manufacture de Svres, and his own vast studio in Auteuil. He made use of exhibition outlets throughout Europe--notably the coveted (and juried) industrial sections of international exhibitions--as well as provincial exhibitions throughout France, and sold his work at auction in Paris, London, and continental Europe every year beginning in 1870. He learned the risks and rewards of retaining reproduction rights over his models early in his career. As a student, his refusal to sell works to the government so that he could control the rights to it smacked of dangerous pride, a strategy that ultimately paid handsomely in commercial terms.
Carpeaux provided a highly visible, radical alternative to prevailing norms for sculptors of his own generation as well as the following one. Considered a telling barometer of his age, he and his work aroused bitter public debate. Critics accused him of shameless ambition for seeking constant public exposure. His work was considered just as aggressive. Advocates and opponents alike agreed that his architectural decorations overwhelmed their architectural frameworks. His sumptuous use of baroque and rococo idioms was either excoriated for plagiarism or hailed as embodying the special grandeur of modern times. With its intense expressive energy and naturalism on the one hand, and richly articulated surfaces and ... more

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Dorthy Day


Dorothy Day
It seems that to some people that they give more so society than others, but than there is one woman, who gave her life to society to help others though giving and sharing and helped people through a time of need. Yet there seems to be few there is.
Dorothy Day, patron of the Catholic Worker movement, was born in Brooklyn, on New York, November 8, 1897. After surviving the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, the Day family moved into a tenement flat in Chicago's South Side. It was a big step down in the world made necessary because Dorothys father was out of work. Day's understanding of the shame people feel when they fail in their efforts dated from this time. It was in Chicago that Day began to form positive impressions of Catholicism. Day recalled. when her father was appointed sports editor of a Chicago newspaper, the Day family moved into a comfortable house on the North Side. Here Dorothy began to read books that affected her conscience. Upton Sinclair's novel, The Jungle, inspired Day to take long walks in poor neighborhoods in Chicago's South Side. It was the start of a life-long attraction to areas many people avoid.
Day won a scholarship that brought her to the University of Illinois campus at Urbana in the fall of 1914. However, she was a reluctant scholar. Her reading was chiefly in a radical social direction. She avoided campus social life and insisted on supporting herself rather than living on money from her father.
Dropping out of college two years later, she moved to New York where she found a job as a reporter for The Call, the city's only socialist daily. She covered rallies and demonstrations and interviewed people ranging from butlers to labor organizers and revolutionaries. She next worked for The Masses, a magazine that opposed American involvement in the European war. In September, the Post Office rescinded the magazine's mailing permit. Federal officers seized back issues, manuscripts, subscriber lists and correspondence. Five editors were charged with sedition.
In November 1917 Day went to prison for being one of forty women in front of the White House protesting women's exclusion from the electorate. Arriving at a rural workhouse, the women were roughly handled. The women responded with a hunger strike. Finally they were freed by presidential order. Returning to New York, Day felt that journalism was a meager response to a world at war. In the spring of 1918, she signed up for a nurse's training program in Brooklyn. Her conviction that the social order was unjust changed in no substantial way from her adolescence until her death.
Her religious development was a slower process. As a child, she attended services at an Episcopal Church. As a young journalist in New York, she would sometimes make late night visits to St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Sixth Avenue. The Catholic climate of worship appealed to her. While she knew little about Catholic belief, Catholic spiritual discipline fascinated her. She saw the Catholic Church as the church of the immigrants, the church of the poor. In 1922, while in Chicago working as a reporter, she roomed with three young women who went to Mass every Sunday and holy day and also set aside time each day for prayer. It was clear to her that worship, adoration, thanksgiving, supplication ... were the noblest acts of which we are capable in this life. Her next job was with a newspaper in New Orleans. Living near St. Louis Cathedral, Day often attended evening Benediction services.
Back in New York in 1924, Day bought a beach cottage on Staten Island using money from the sale of movie rights for a novel. She also began a four-year common-law marriage with Forster Batterham, an English botanist she had met through friends in Manhattan. Batterham was an anarchist opposed to marriage and religion. In a world of such cruelty, he found it impossible to believe in a God. By this time Day's belief in God was unshakable. It grieved her that Batterham didn't sense God's presence within the natural world. How can there be no God, she asked, when there are all these beautiful things? His irritation ... more

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