The Nasher Sculpture Center has partnered with five other institutions, including four in France, to launch the French Sculpture Census, a digital archive of 7,000 French sculptures dating between 1500 and 1960 that are found in American museums, public buildings, historic homes and estates, or displayed in public space.
Partners for the census, which is the first of its kind, include the University of Texas at Dallas, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin and Ecole du Louvre in Paris. It is directed by Laure de Margerie, former senior archivist of sculpture at the Musée d’Orsay and current research fellow at UTD.
“The French Sculpture Census marks an important contribution to the study of the history of taste, the building of American museum collections, the development of the art market and the transatlantic art trade,” said de Margerie in a release.
The website is offered in both English and French and gives great detail for the breadth, quality and diversity of 500 years worth of French sculptures collected in the United States. De Margerie hopes that it will be a valuable resource for curators, historians, students and anyone else interested in French sculpture.
Users can search sculptures by artist, place of birth and death, gender, type of sculpture, medium, period, or location. Results also include a list of exhibitions, descriptions of sculpture techniques and more.
In all, the site features comprehensive information for works by 690 artists in 305 locations nationwide, including 23 in Texas. The goal is to increase the content to include between 15,000-20,000 sculptures.
UTD is funding and contributing resources to de Margerie’s research; the Nasher built the website and will host and maintain it.