Sculpture Journal

‘That pungent question of authorship’: the reception of the sculpture of Marie d’Orléans in La Mode in 1838

Sculpture Journal (2019), 28, (1), 35–54.

Abstract

This article examines the reception in 1838 of the French princess and sculptor Marie d’Orléans in the journal La Mode. Political and religious convictions lay at the base of the hostile treatment of the princess in this French magazine, whose anti-Orléanist and ultra-Catholic editors faced condemnation by the government. The repeated questioning of the authorship of Marie d’Orléans’s artworks was undoubtedly based on existing rumours stemming from her close collaboration with her teacher Ary Scheffer and her praticien Auguste Trouchaud. The princess’s (alleged) physical frailty and the many upper-class, amateur women artists at the time also played a role. Yet, the derision directed at Marie d’Orléans in La Mode was not an isolated case but yet another example of a problematic double standard that many women sculptors faced. While critics accepted the fact that sculptors used studio assistants, they criticized women sculptors for relying on them, questioning the true authorship of their works.

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Author details

Sterckx, Marjan