New York

“Cast in Bronze"

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This great exhibition—it is absurd to mince adjectives—is a monumental event. Apart from the breathtaking loans, there is a daunting catalogue containing 144 entries on works by canonic figures (Goujon, Pilon, Falconet, Girardon, Coysevox, Pigalle, Houdon) in addition to lesser lights as one moves from French Mannerism past Louis XIV, XV, and XVI to the rationalist French sculptors of the eighteenth century. The occasion was largely orchestrated by savants at the Louvre, the Metropolitan, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where the show arrives this month.

The catalogue for Knoedler & Company’s “The French Bronze, 1500 to 1800,” an exhibition I reviewed some forty years ago (Artforum, January 1969), set a benchmark for the study of European sculpture from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. And questions already in focus then remain in place, issues ranging from workshop

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