Now a figure of classical art history, sculptor Alfred Boucher achieved great fame during his lifetime.
Alfred Boucher (1850–1934), Hirondelle blessée (The Wounded Swallow), sculpture in white marble, h. 71 cm/28 in.
Nothing predestined Alfred Boucher (1850-1934) to pursue an artistic career, except the fortunate circumstances of life. His father was the gardener of a classical sculptor in the northern French city of Nogent-sur-Seine who, seeing the child's abilities, recommended him to one of his friends, Paul Dubois (1829–1905). The latter introduced him to Paris and the Fine Arts. This paved the way: his friendships with Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel, his presence in the salons where his talent was noticed, and the numerous commissions for busts of political and scientific figures made him an official, recognized and honored artist. He often chose social and naturalistic subjects of men at work and, moreover, never forgot where he came from. It is indeed thanks to him that the legendary "Ruche des arts" (Hive of the Arts) was created, a place where the most modest artists could afford a studio for a small rent. But at the same time, he was fond of more poetic themes combining female nudes and mythology, such as in the "Volubilis" and "Baigneuses” (Bathers) series. L'Hirondelle blessée (The Wounded Swallow), which reached €53,760, belongs to the second series, of the utmost decorative effect. One can understand the success that it had when it was presented at the Salon of 1898, with editions in bronze as well as in Sèvres biscuit!