Emile Joseph Carlier

Emile Joseph Carlier, “Gilliat Struggling with the Octopus”, 1880-90, Marble, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, France

Emile Joseph Carlier was born in Cambrai, France in 1849. He was a student in a monk’s school and then attended the Municipal School where he was taught drawint by the Bergers, both father and son. At the age of fifteen, Carlier joined the studio of ornamental sculptor Lecaron in Cambrai. He traveled to Paris, attending the Universal Exhibition which confirmed his desire to be an artist.

Returning to Cambrai, Carlier followed a course of academic study in the workshop of René Fache. Receiving a scholarship from the city of Cambrai in 1869, he returned to Paris, entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and joined the workshop of academic sculptor Pierre-Jules Caveliwer.

In 1874, Carlier exhibited for the first time at the Salon in Paris, entering works in the following years. He exhibited “Gilliat Struggling with the Octopus” in 1879, which earned him a second prize. This work was inspired by the book “Les Travilleurs de la Mer (Workers of the Sea)” by Victor Hugo. In 1889 after winning his gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, he decided to transform his “Gilliat” sculpture and exhibited it at the Salon in 1889. The work was purchased by the state for the Musée du Luxembourg.

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