Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse was one of the most important and innovative sculptors of 19th-century France. During his long career, Carrier-Belleuse was responsible for important public monuments, as well as creating decorative sculpture for a diverse clientele. One of his major contributions to sculpture is the introduction of 19th-century technology in his workshop to efficiently reproduce his models for an eager market. This way his terracotta and marble models, many of which represent playful mythological subjects and beautiful women, could be dispersed widely. Carrier-Belleuse’s prolific workshop also became an important training ground for younger sculptors, notably Auguste Rodin, who acted as the master’s assistant between 1864 and 1870.
This fine bust of a girl with exquisitely dressed hair seems to be unique in Carrier-Belleuse’s oeuvre. The flowers in her hair suggest that she is a personification of Spring. Her prominent long braids and locket, on the other hand, may identify her as a literary character. Carrier-Belleuse changed his signature from A CARRIER to A CARRIER BELLEUSE around 1968 to distinguish himself from the painter August Carrier. The Bust of a girl is therefore an early work.
RELATED LITERATURE J. Hargrove and G. Grandjean, Carrier-Belleuse. Le maître de Rodin, exh. cat. Palais de Compiègne, Paris, 2014