Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A few male sculptures from the Paris Opera Garnier (3) Louis Felix Chabaud

The largest serie of sculptures from the Opera House is from the French sculptor Louis Felix Chabaud (1824-1902). It is an impressive collection of more than 400 art pieces that have been recorded so far, from busts, masks, statues, both inside and outside.

The recent book of Jean-Marc Hery 'Louis Felix Chabaud, un sculpteur oublié'  (A forgotten sculptor) allows us to re-discover this.
From modest farmer origins, he started to work on stones aged 15, in Aix en Provence, then studied sculpture in the same town, before moving to Paris. At 24, he won the Prix de Rome for the engraved medals category, so he can go to the famous Villa Medicis, where he will meet Charles Garnier, another winner. Chabaud had a strong relationship with the architect Garnier, and started to receive commissions for the Opera House. It is the beginning of some impressive work.

For example the carved Opera zodiac vault (with 16 heads : 12 zodiac signs and the 4 cardinal points), the golden busts representing famous composers, some lighting busts, and of course the numerous (275) masks, and the giant marble head of Minerve (5 meters high).

'Poissons' zodiac sign - Chabaud

'Comédie' by Chabaud
'Tragédie' by Chabaud

A selection of videos to visit the Opera House:
Official website
Inside visit of the opera 
About the architecture

Other sources about the sculptor Louis Felix Chabaud:
Comprehensive general website about him, in French
Book about him by Jean-Marc Hery