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 Alexis de Santa Eulalia  (1868 - 1917)

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Lived/Active: New York/Illinois / Portugal      Known for: monumental sculpture-statues

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Alexis De Santa Eulalia is primarily known as Alexis de Santa Eulalia

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Hommage to Saint-Gaudens, bas-relief and statue, plaster, New York, 1909-1914
Photo by Dewitt Clinton Ward, owned by the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, N.H


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography is written and submitted by Manuel de Queiroz, the artist's grand nephew who has devoted five years to researching Alexis de Santa Eulalia.

Aleixo de Queiroz Ribeiro, whose complete name is Aleixo de Queiroz Ribeiro de Sottomaior d’ Almeida e Vasconcellos, also known in the United States of America as Alexis de Santa Eulália [1], was born into a noble family on April 18, 1868 in Ponte de Lima, in the north of Portugal.
 
In 1892, after some preliminary studies in the north of Portugal, he traveled to Paris.  There, he attended the School of Decorative Arts, the Academie Julian, where he studied under Denys-Puech, and the studio of Ernest-Louis Barrias, at the Paris School of Fine Arts.
 
In 1893, he exhibited a plaster bust named Tête d’étude at the Salon des Champs-Élysées, followed by two busts – Christus, flet, orat, obit and Romain - in 1984.

In 1896, he returned at the Salon with a high-relief, bronze medallion of the Emperor of Abissinia, Menelike II, thanks to which, in 1898, he was awarded the Knighthood of the Order of the Great Star of Ethiopia, and the marble bust Extase Religieuse.  In 1897 he exhibited in the Salon the high-relief Lisbonne.
 
In August 1898, his huge bronze statue of Sagrado Coração de Jesus (the Sacred Heart of Jesus), made in Paris was solemnly inaugurated at Viana do Castelo, in the north of Portugal.  It is considered to be under the influence of Rodin in style. 

In April of the same year, he exhibited in Lisbon a statue dedicated to Vasco de Gama, the famous Portuguese discoverer.  The work was the recipient of much favorable praise in the Parisian newspapers, L’Evénement and Siècle, and is also touted by some Lisbon newspaper critics, as “a kind of monster à la Balzac”, in a reference to the statue of the writer that was presented the same year in Paris by Auguste Rodin.
 
In 1898 he participated in the competition for the monument in homage to Dr. Sousa Martins, a very popular and well known Lisbon doctor and professor, and he took first place.  In 1900, his monument to Sousa Martins was inaugurated in Lisbon to much pomp and circumstance by King D. Carlos and Queen D. Amelia.  A few days later, however, a strident campaign against the work is launched in the press, motivated, according to the sculptor, by envy and jealousy.  The campaign eventually culminated in the totally unprecedented decision in the history of Portuguese, and perhaps European art, to basically destroy the monument just a few months after its unveiling, and to substitute it with another by Costa Motta, the third place finisher in the competition.
 
The same year, he participated in the Paris Universal Exposition, as part of the Portuguese delegation, with three works:  Dernière pensée (marble bust), the previously mentioned Vasco da Gama (plaster) and Lisbonne (bronze bas-relief).  He also entered the international competition for the monument to honor Czar Alexander II of Russia, to be erected in Parliament square in Sofia, Bulgaria and he took second place.
 
At the end of 1902, following a long stay in Paris, an bitterly disappointed with the reception his work received in his own county, he decided to go to the United States to participate in the preparation of the famous St. Louis Universal Expo that would take place there two years later, in 1904.   He brought with him the model of a monument to Napoleon Bonaparte, the seller of Louisiana, to be erected at the Expo – a project he was unable to complete because he fell ill with typhoid fever.  Nevertheless, he presented the model and a bust of Pope Pius X.  However, he does so in the Jerusalem Pavilion instead of the Portuguese Pavilion.
 
Near the end of 1904 he departed for Chicago, where he resided until 1908.  In 1905, he was named Consul of Portugal in Chicago, a charge he undertakes until 1910, alongside his activities as a sculptor.  Between 1906 and 1908, he completed, among other works, a bust of the famous Chicago capitalist, Marshall Field, and two large, bas-reliefs in bronze (approx. 2x2.5 meters, each) of John B. Stetson and Henry Deland, the two founders of Stetson University in Deland, Florida.
 
In 1908, after the assassination of King D. Carlos, he finished a huge statue of Queen D. Amélia, which according to the American newspapers of the period, was to be sent to Lisbon to be placed in one of the city squares or at one of the royal palaces.  The same year, in Philadelphia, he married Sarah Elizabeth Stetson, widow of the multimillionaire philanthropist, John B. Stetson, head of the renowned Stetson Hats & Company.
 
Following his wedding, he transferred his studio to New York City [2], where he kept working as a sculptor until 1914.  Of the several works that are known from this period, the following stand out:  a statue for the Arctic Club of America of Dr. F. A. Cook, the first explorer to have reached the North Pole (1909); a bronze bust of Frederick Ward Putnam (1912), that is at Harvard University; The Roman; and Columbus Discovering America sculptures that were put on display at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia, in 1909; Maternity, a marble statue exhibited in 1912, also at PAFA; and a statue and a huge bas-relief for a monument to honor the renowned American sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (approx. 5X7meters).  The latter one are shown at the Salon de Paris in 1914 and are subsequently the subject of great critical praise from various American newspapers of the period, such as The Washington Post.
 
During this period, he divided his time between the north of Portugal, where he spent part of the year dedicating himself to agriculture and raising horses in the huge properties he bought there, and the United States where he continued to practice sculpture. At the start of World War I, in August 1914, he suspended his trips to the U.S.  He died from cancer in one of his manors at the north of Portugal on May 6, 1917 [3].
 
Written at Lisbon, May 2010 by Manuel de Queiroz, a grand nephew of the artist and author of the novel Passos da Glória, who has Santa Eulália as main character.

 Sources:
- Explication des ouvrages de Peinture, Sculpture, Architecture, Gravure et Lithographie des artistes vivants exposés au Palais des Champs-Élysées, 1893, Paris.
- Idem for 1894, 1896, 1897.
- Catalogue Génèral Officiel Exposition Internationale Universelle de 1900, Paris,;
- Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia Catalogue, 1909, Philadelphia;
- Idem for 1912; A Arte em Portugal no Séc.XIX, França, José Augusto, Lisbon, 1990
- Dicionário de Escultura Portuguesa, dir. José Fernandes Pereira, Caminho, 2005;
- Arte e Artistas Contemporâneos, Ribeiro Artur, 1900.
- Portuguese newspapers O Século, Diário de Notícias, etc.
- French newspapers Le Monde, L’Etandart, Le Moniteur, Universel, Rives d’ Or, etc.
-American newspapers New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, North American, Philadelphia Record, etc.
- Stetsons family personal archives and memories;
Queiroz Ribeiro family personal archives and memories;
 

Footnotes
[1] In 1906, he was bestowed the title of Count of Santa Eulália by D. Carlos King of Portugal and started using the name Alexis de Santa Eulália.
[2] In fact, he had two studios in New York: the first, at 148 W. 36th St, had previously been Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ studio; the second, at 119 W. 52nd St., had been John Quincy Adams Ward’s.
[3] In the United States of America, the sculptor can be found referenced in the work Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, (editor Peter Hastings Falk. Madison, CT Sound View press, 1999), and in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture.


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