Jacques Francois Joseph Saley

Jacques Francois Joseph Saley, “Faun Holding a Goat”, Marble, 1751, J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California

Jacques-François-Joseph Saly trained first in his native Valenciennes and then in Paris. From 1740 until 1748, as winner of the Prix de Rome, he studied at the Académie de France in Rome. There Saley drew a series of ornamental vases, which he later engraved and bound in a single volume. Republished in Paris, Saly’s engravings were influential in forming Neoclassical taste.

At the 1750 Salon, Saly exhibited the plaster version of “Faun Holding a Goat”, whose subject and style was inspired by antique sculpture. The marble version of the “Faun” , now in the Getty Museum’s collection, gained him membership in the Académie Royale and generated so much interest that it was copied in bronze, plaster, and porcelain.

Saly earned the patronage of Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour but, on Edme Bouchardon’s recommendation, he left for Copenhagen in 1753 to execute a bronze equestrian statue of Frederick V of Denmark. He stayed in Denmark for twenty years, became director of the Danish Academy of Art, and created numerous monumental works and busts of members of the Danish court. Saly returned to France in 1774 and became the first sculptor to be honored with the Order of St. Michael by Louis XV.

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