The nineteenth-century private collections of French sculpture of two philanthropic entrepreneurs, Carl Jacobsen of Denmark and the Armenian Calouste Gulbenkian, will be in dialogue at an exhibition that opens to the public on Friday in Lisbon.
‘Pose e Variações’ is the name of the exhibition that the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation organizes, with 30 small and medium-sized sculptures created by 11 artists related to 19th-century French sculpture, with Auguste Rodin, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Aimé-Jules Dalou and Paul Dubois.
With the sculptures almost all framed in the wide windows facing the gardens, the exhibition crosses works that were acquired by two businessmen who were born in the 19th century and had a deep connection to the arts: Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of the Carlsberg brewery , and the Armenian Calouste Gulbenkian, linked to exploration and oil.
“It’s a traditional exhibition because it has two collections, but it’s not a conventional look for sculpture, it’s looking for links. The sculpture is rarely unique, there are always versions and we wanted to show the public these aspects,” explained the director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Penelope Curtis, on a visit to the press.
That is why in the exhibition the visitor can find the same sculpture reproduced in different materials, such as “Cupido Hurtado” by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux with a representation of the son in plaster, bronze and marble.
Also stands out the piece ‘The eternal spring’, of Auguste Rodin. In the exhibition is present a bronze sculpture belongs to the Calouste Gulbenkian collection, and an equal, of marble, of the collection of Carl Jacobsen.
Despite the converging points between the two collections, the guiding thread of the exhibition is a pose, the representation of the human figure, but also the absence of pose when it comes to portraying children.
There is also a political and social context for the production of these works, in an “extremely rich” century. “The nineteenth century is a profound transformation, a rise of the powerful bourgeoisie, with the capacity to buy small statuary, the secularization of people’s lives, the industrial revolution,” said Luisa Sampaio, one of the curators.
‘Pose and Variations – Sculpture in Paris at the time of Rodin’ will be displayed in the main gallery of the foundation’s headquarters until February 4, 2019, following in March to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, a museum dedicated to sculpture created by Carl Jacobsen.