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The Collection Dr. Metz The Metz foundation
The Collection
romantic scultpture

Romantic Sculpture

Although many figurative sculptures in the Metz Collection were created during the Romantic, Symbolist, and Impressionist periods in French painting, they could be most accurately described as Romantic Allegorical figures. The influence of Romanticism can be found in the naturalism of the figures and their environments, and in the new involvement with movement in surface and form in bronze. However, the figures have been transformed from rulers and gods to vague allegories of Civic and Moral Virtues, such as Victory, or the Thinker. Another mutation of academic sculpture is also represented here: although the standard for allegorical sculpture was a human figure (most often female) wearing or bearing attributes and representing a heroic figure associated with morally edifying behavior, by the end of the century, these traits had become thinly veiled and scantily draped excuses to represent the female nude in every possible situation.

Aspects of
the Collection

These thirty pieces of sculpture are a small part of a larger collection given by the estate of Dr. Arthur R. Metz to Indiana University. An active alumnus and an avid collector of both fine and decorative arts, Dr. Metz retired from his medical practice in Chicago to the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington.

Most of the collection, comprising around 900 objects—paintings, photographs, books, porcelain, silver, animal artifacts, and other memorabilia—is currently housed in the Metz Suite, his retirement apartment in the Indiana Memorial Union hotel. Fourteen bronze sculptures have been accessioned into the collection of the Indiana University Art Museum.

 

animalier bronze Animalier Bronzes


The term Animalier, applied particularly to mid-nineteenth-century French sculpture with animal subject matter, was first used by a contemptuous press in 1831 when three sculptors—Antoine-Louis Barye, Christophe Fratin and Alexandre Guionnet— exhibited animal sculptures at the Paris Salon. The jury of the Salon, still caught up in the waning neoclassical taste fostered by the Napoleonic Empire, found the representation of animals too common a subject for Salon exhibition, and before 1850 many sculptures were rejected by the Salon for that reason. However, public interest in comparative anatomy and new access to exotic animals at the Paris Jardin des Plantes zoo soon transformed the derogatory term Animalier into a specialty many sculptors were proud to practice.

Many animal sculptures were modeled in plaster for exhibition and cast later in bronze editions. The size and variety of an edition depended on the popularity of the piece at exhibition, and many Barye, Mene, and Fratin pieces were so popular that they were cast in very large editions.

 
 
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