H. 36 in. x W. 16 1/2 in. x L. 13 1/4 in.
A native of Toulouse, Falguière was one of the
most respected French sculptors working at the end of
the nineteenth century. Considered the epitome of the
successful academic artist, Falguière entered
the École des Beaux-Arts in 1854. His many early
successes and his rapid rise in the art world were noted
by contemporary critics, and by the end of the 1870s
he had become an important French sculptor. In 1870 he
received the Legion of Honor, and in the 1880s he became
a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts.
Throughout much of his later career he operated a large, successful studio, attracting
numerous students. Falguière led a busy life and career. From 1863 to
1899 he exhibited at thirty-seven Paris Salons, frequently submitting several
works in the same year. He also exhibited at the Expositions Universelles of
1867 and 1878 and at the Exposition of 1900. Along with a number of statues made
for architectural decoration and thirty commemorative monuments, Falguière
sculpted more than fifty portrait busts. In addition to these works,
produced a series of female nudes that were created solely to attract attention
of potential buyers at the annual Salons, and to increase orders for marble
or bronze reductions. His Diana is
considered to belong to that category of works.
In addition to the Diana, he created a series of femme fatales, including Eve,
A Hunting Nymph, Fighting Bacchantes, and Woman
with a Peacock, exhibited in
various media throughout the 1880s and 1890s. Although often receiving mixed
reviews, these statues had considerable popular success and became an eagerly
awaited and integral part of the annual Salons.
Parisian critics agreed that these Salon nudes all lacked idealization and
displayed a realism of form, a lack of iconography, and a marked insignificance
matter that betrayed them as works contrived to display the greatest possible
number of feminine charms. Falguière's full-length nude portraits of
recognizable studio models striking revelatory poses were not convincing images
of the mythological
and biblical creatures whose names and attributes they bear.
As one critic remarked, “these figures still seemed to show the traces
of a recently removed corset. Little wonder that they were found unconvincing
The IUAM Diana is a reduction cast of Falguière’s life-size plaster
version of Diana. Evidently the work was enormously popular and the model was
reproduced in numerous reduced versions in various media—such as the
bronze in the Indiana University Art Museum collection.