Sculpture Journal

Gendering modernity/modernizing the worker: Jules Dalou’s Monument to Labourers and industrial virility

Sculpture Journal (2014), 23, (3), 331–348.

Abstract

Wracked with disappointment following the Parisian government’s inauguration of his massive, neo-baroque Triumph of the Republic in 1889, the French sculptor Jules Dalou spent the 1890s obsessively working on a monument to labourers. He intended this project to celebrate the male worker as the hero of modern life through a new visual language and monumental idiom. Although Dalou, France’s leading fin-de-siècle monument maker, never erected this ensemble, the formal and thematic equivocations that mark his efforts reveal his shifting meditations on monumentality and working masculinity at the turn of the twentieth century. This article explores Dalou’s Monument to Labourers project, his collaboration with Dr Paul Richer and his complicated engagement with modernity as he contested the conventional relationship between man and the new age as well as the future of public monument.

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Author details

Eschelbacher, Andrew