Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1826) has long been recognized as the greatest European portrait sculptor of the late eighteenth century, flourishing during both the American and French Revolutions as well as during the Directoire and Empire in France. This lavish exhibition catalog, now available in paperback, contains more than 100 color plates and 200 halftones which illustrate every stage of the sculptor's fascinating career. Accompanying the images of Houdon's masterworks are four insightful essays that discuss Houdon's views on art as well as his prominence in the highly varied cultures of eighteenth-century France, Germany, and Russia. From aristocrats to revolutionaries, actors to philosophers, Houdon's amazingly vivid portraits constitute the visual record of the Enlightenment and capture the true spirit of a remarkable age.
Anne L. Poulet is the curator emerita of the department of European decorative arts and sculpture of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Guilhem Scherf is the chief curator of sculpture at the Musee du Louvre. Ulrike D. Marthies is an independent art historian in Boston. Christoph Frank is a scholar in residence at the Max Planck Institute in Rome. Claude Vandalle is a curator of sculpture at the Musee de domaine national de Versailles. Dean Walker is the Henry P. McIlhenny Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Monique Barbier is an independent art historian in Paris.