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One French sculptor who did not respond to the international movement of neoclassicism was Louis-Philippe Mouchy, born in Paris on March 31, 1734, the son of a baker. Mouchy married the niece of his teacher, the sculptor Pigalle, after returning from his study period in Rome. He was accepted into the Academy (agréé) in 1766 and named full academician two years later. For Diderot (Salon de 1767), Mouchy’s plaster morceau d’agrégation, A Seated Shepherd (marble version of 1768 in the Louvre), was unsuccessful, as it in no way appeared to be at rest. The Louvre also has his marble statue of Apollo (1776). A year later Mouchy executed a life-size marble statue, Le duc de Sully, in the Institut, one of his contributions to the Grands hommes (Great Men of France) series. His contemporary, Du Pont de Nemours said the simplified face lacked a good resemblance and omitted any sign of Sully’s stern and imposing character. Bachaumont agreed that this representation of Sully lacked soul. In 1780 Mouchy copied Bouchardon’s popular Cupid Carving a Bow out of the Club of Hercules (Versailles, Temple de l’Amour). Following the same sculptor, Mouchy contributed stone statues to the nave of Saint-Sulpice, Paris, including four Evangelists on the corners of the north tower.
He rose within the academic hierarchy to the position of professor (1784) and received numerous commissions during the Ancien Régime, for instance, two further Grands hommes statues: Le duc de Montausier (marble, 1789; Louvre) and Le maréchal de Luxembourg (marble, 1791; Château de Versailles). His Harpocrates, God of Silence (1789; Palais du Luxembourg, Paris) is a delicate and elegant conception, still under Pigalle’s influence. Cochin criticized this unidealized, “over-slender” figure, which was done “under Pigalle’s system.” Scherf (2000) misinterprets the figure as having followed a “classical canon.”
As a member of the Commission of the Conservation of Monuments during the Revolutionary era, Mouchy was active in saving works of art. He died on 10 December 1801.
De Longuemare, P. de. “Le statuaire Mouchy symboliste.” Réunion des Sociétés des Beaux-Arts, 1897, pp. 968-971; Dupont de Nemours, “Lettres sur les Salons de 1773, 1777 et 1779.” Archives de l’Art Français, 1908, pp. 45-46; Thirion, Jacques. “L’Apollon de Mouchy.” Revue du Louvre 1 (1976): 35-40; Scherf, Guilhem. “Mouchy, Louis-Philippe,” in From David to Ingres: Early 19th Century French Artists. The Grove Dictionary of Art series. London and New York: Grove Art, 2000, pp. 329-330.
Submitted by Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D.