Bust of a Woman

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, French, 1824 - 1887


about 1875


Overall: 20 1/16 × 12 5/8 × 11 13/16 in. (51 × 32 × 30 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through a gift from Jane and W. David Dance, Class of 1940



Place Made: France, Europe


19th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Signed, on back: A. Carrier-Belleuse


This bust of a woman by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse was not intended to be a likeness of a specific individual. Instead, it presents a charming image of a female type (which the artist usually modeled on a discreetly disguised society woman, an actress, or model). These sculptures were made in substantial numbers and have come to be known as his “fantasy” busts. In creating this series, he produced unique clay casts from a single mold; while the clay was still wet he or one of his assistants would add additional clay details and work the existing clay of the cast to create several variations on a single theme. If you look closely you can see the added bits of clay and the marks of the artist’s hand in what was still the wet clay of the bust after it had come out of the mold. A comparison with the sculpture pictured below (reputedly depicting Napoleon III’s lover) shows his use of textiles to model the clay. Compare the lace in both sculptures.

Carrier-Belleuse’s work epitomizes the Beaux-Arts elegance of late 19th-century France. Late in his life he also managed the Sèvres porcelain factory. Many prominent sculptors trained in his flourishing studio, including Alexandre Falguière (1831–1900) and Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), both of whom have works on view in this gallery.

From the 2019 exhibition Emulating Antiquity: Nineteenth-Century European Sculpture, curated by Katherine W. Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming

Exhibition History

Emulating Antiquity: Nineteenth-century European Sculpture, Engles Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-February 16, 2020.

Hommage a Carrier-Belleuse, Biennale des Antiquaries, Paris, October, 1992.

Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 29, 1994-May 18, 1997.

Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, August 27, 2002.

Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, September 3, 1999-October 15, 2000.

Publication History

Veronique Sulzer, Sub-editor, Chronique des Arts, Paris:Les Beaux-Arts, No. 1514, March 1995.


Esmond Collection, Paris, France; Hector Brame - Jean Lorenceau, Paris, France; purchased by present collection, 1994.

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