Labor in the Cauldron of Progress: Jules Dalou, The Inconstant Worker, and Paris's Memorial Landscape
Hargrove, June E.
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French populist identity and changing notions of masculinity converge in the monument projects of Jules Dalou, revealing the fissures in the Third Republic's attempts to unify the nation. Treating the worker as France's representative man, Dalou intervened in a memorial sphere where the male laborer's ambiguous position manifested the effects of profound cultural traumas stemming from the année terrible and the development of new social and economic structures. This dissertation investigates how Dalou, the leading public sculptor of the early Third Republic, consistently altered his depictions of the worker as he pursued a monumental idiom and representation of the masculine icon appropriate for modernity. The formal and thematic inconsistencies that resulted reveal the sculptor's efforts to navigate the ruptures between social traditions and emergent political, scientific, and industrial values that rendered the fin-de-siècle memorial environment a cauldron in which the era's conflicting social dogmas and cultural doctrines forged new amalgams. Manifesting the complicated relationships between public art, modern aesthetics, and the formation of new national mores, these projects illustrate the social angst of the last decades of the nineteenth century and anticipate the visual language of divisive twentieth-century ideologies.