Paul Dardé: Between Paris and Lodève
Taking a look at his sculpture.
FILMS , MUSIC, DRAMA AND ARTBUILDINGS AND ARCHITECTURE
Where would you rather spend your time...Paris or Lodève...the vibrant city, or the empty plains of the Causses du Larzac? For Paul Dardé this was not an easy choice. Paris held the keys to his success as a famous sculptor , whereas Lodève held the keys to his heart.
After completing the war monument at Soubès (see my earlier blog) Paul Dardé returned to his new studio in Paris to work on a giant statue entitled " Faune." It had been commissioned by two rich industrialist brothers, after they had seen a sketch on a scrap of paper. Huge blocks of stone were transported down the Seine, and the heat was on to finish the work in time for Le Salon du Grand Palais on 1st May 1920. When complete it weighed 14 tonnes and was 4 metres high. Paul Dardé and his work was met with great acclaim, and he was awarded The National Prize of the Arts. The Regnauld brothers donated this statue to the state , and in 2006 it was put in the care of Lodève Museum. In 2018 the Musée Fleury in Lodeve, which had been undergoing a massive refurbishment and extension was reopened. This statue was the centre of attention. You can see it as you enter through the main doors. I guarantee it will take your breath away .
The Musée Fleury holds a large collection of Paul Dardé's work . This is currently featured in their summer exhibition, but much of it is permanently housed in a suite of ground floor rooms. Here are some of the sculptures that you can see there.
But there is one work that I can gaze at over and over again. At times many great artists have graced the walls of our local museum, such as Matisse and Morisot, Dufy, Cézanne and Corot. But I have always made time to slip away and cast my eye over this unique and intriguing work by Paul Dardé. It never fails to amuse.
Finally, we must go outside to see Lodève's nationally renowned war monument. It stands in front of the Palais des Evêques(Bishops' Palace) with a commanding view towards the hills. This is one of six that Dardé created in the region over the next ten years. This turned out to be a turbulent time for him as he worked between Paris and the Larzac . During this period he ran into serious debt and his Paris workshop and all its contents were auctioned off at a low price. He then created a studio near in Lodève from which time he continued to live and work in this region , creating many more fine works of art.