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Charles Despiau - French Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Charles Despiau (1874 - 1946)

French sculptor, Charles Despiau began his career in 1907 as an assistant to Rodin. After working there until 1914, Despiau adopted a style that contrasted his master’s approach and more resembled the work of Maillol. Despiau is mostly remembered for his portrait busts but also produced a number of monuments. He held a high reputation in France during the 1920’s and 30’s but lost his prestige because of his allegiance to his longtime friend and Nazi sculptor, Arno Breker. His works, mostly portraits and nudes exemplifying a calm classicism, are in the collections of over thirty museums in France and over 100 museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Modern Art in New York owns the bronze Assia, perhaps his best-known work. The largest collection is in his native Mont-de-Marsan, in a museum he shares with Robert Wlérick, established in the Donjon Lacataye. Despiau produced a total of some 150 sculptures and 1,000 drawings over a fifty year career.

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