Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Ugolino and His Sons, 1865–67, marble, 77 3/4 x 59 x 43 1/2".

New York

“The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
March 10–May 26

Curated by James Draper

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s controversial sculpture has become synonymous with the Second Empire, the regime he served so well. His portraits captured its glittering women and self-made men, Napoléon III among them, while editioned spin-offs from his monumental public works—such as La Danse, carved for the Paris Opera in 1869—made them available to the bourgeois connoisseur. The great public pieces will inevitably be absent from this exhibition (co-organized with Paris’s Musée d’Orsay), but its sheer scale—more than 160 sculptures, paintings, and drawings (particularly revealing of Carpeaux’s mind at work)—will help to fill the hole. As for the catalogue, no comprehensive account of the sculptor’s art and career has been published in English in nearly three decades. One can only hope that the show’s breathless title does not herald greater hyperbole to come. Travels to the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.