Desbois was a collaborator and follower of Rodin, and his work is associated with both Art Nouveau and the virtuoso sculptural method of carving en taille directe
(free carving, without a model). A student at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1873, Desbois worked in Pierre Cavelier's studio. After a two year stay in New York, where he worked with John Quincy Adams, he returned to Paris and made his debut at the Salon with a bust of Orpheus
Three years later he met Rodin in Carrier-Belleuse's studio and they worked together as practitioners in Eugene Legrain's atelier. Desbois came under the older sculptor's dominating influence, a relationship which developed into a long-standing collaboration and mutual admiration; Butler describes him as 'the pillar of Rodin's atelier.' His style increasingly moved towards a much greater realism, sculpting in marble en taille directe
, as well as working in ivory and wood. However his work is also deeply personal, lyrical and sensual. Compare the cmposition of the present lot to Desbois' La Dryade
plates between pages 32-33) and Le Baiser
cat. no. 29).
R. Huard and P. Maillot, Jules Desbois 1851-1935. Une céelébration tragique de la vie, Paris, 2000