Claude Michel (Clodion)

Claude Michel, known as Clodion (1738-1814), whose mother was from the Adam dynasty of sculptors, spent the beginning of his life and his training in Nancy then in Lille. In 1755, he entered the studio of his maternal uncle, the sculptor Lambert Sigisbert Adam, in Paris. He stayed there for four years, then became a pupil of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle on the death of his uncle. Later, in 1759 he received the grand prize for sculpture and then left for Rome in 1762 where he resided until 1771, carrying out orders from Duke Louis Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld or Catherine II who sought to attract him to Russia.

Clodion stayed in Italy for nine years where he discovered Roman terracotta in the excavations of Pompeii. From then on, ancient art inspired Clodion, who specialized in terracotta, ceramic sculpture and decorative bas-relief. He was one of the most representative French sculptors who worked in the rocaille style. During the reign of Louis XVI, Clodion carried out important commissions with different relief techniques and sculptures. He practiced bronze casting and terracotta firing and excelled in casting mythological and allegorical figures, such as groups of intertwined dancers, nymphs, satyrs and bacchantes or dancers in terracotta. Clodion also left behind examples of his master in marble work in which he was also a recognized expert.

In 1771, Clodion returned to Paris and was wildly successful and he exhibited regularly at the Salon. In 1773, he was approved by the Academy and received his first commission from the King in 1779 for a statue of Montesquieu intended for the Grande Galerie du Louvre. He married in 1781 with Catherine Flore Pajou (1764-1841), daughter of the sculptor Augustin Pajou and Angélique Roumier, and sister of Jacques-Augustin-Catherine Pajou. Because of the Revolution, he retired to Lorraine where he modeled several vases and statuettes for the Faiencerie de Niderviller.

Clodion collaborated with the architect Brongniart between 1775 and 1782 to create the stone decoration of the Hôtel Bouret de Vézelayet and the facade of the Capuchin convent. He also decorated the bathroom of the Hôtel de Besenval. He worked on public monuments in Paris, such as the execution of the marble relief of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.

Discover the sculptures by Claude Michel (Clodion) and other artists in our gallery.