( Bordeaux 1864 - Paris 1909)
|A Great Sculptor
very appreciated by Rodin
|Lucien SCHNEGG, the elder brother of Gaston Schnegg, was born in Bordeaux in 1864. Their father, a cabinet maker, ran an antique shop by the Allées de Tourny. During his childhood Lucien Schnegg, together with his brothers, attended the protestant school in rue Notre-Dame quite near his family's home. In 1883, he won the first prize for sculpture at the Municipal Drawing School of Bordeaux.||In 1884, he was
admitted into Falguière's class at the Ecole
des Beaux-Arts in Paris and granted a living
allowance from the town of Bordeaux for four years.
In 1888, he competed for the First Prize of Rome. Passing
the first step in the competition, he failed at the
second one. One year later, he tried again as did his
brother Gaston as well. Unfortunately they both
failed the second stage.
Beginning in 1894, he exhibited at the Salon National des Beaux-Arts. Among the works shown there are : A young lady's head (Orsay Museum in Paris) the model of which is Lydie, his brother Gaston's wife, and the Young France, the model of which is his own wife, placed at the top of a monumental fountain in Toul, the Fontaine de Curel, the decoration and ornamentation of which he also created. The studio he shared with his brother in Paris, rue Dutot, 40, (presently rue du Dr Roux), soon became a meeting place for a group of young sculptors. These sought to break away from the all-too-formal academies and to tend to a quieter and more meditative sculpture with neater and simpler lines, while still remaining respectful of traditional values.
Without doubt, these young sculptors all considered Lucien Schnegg the leader of their "Bande à Schnegg".
In 1898 Charles Saunier, an art critic, wrotes : "Messrs. Lucien and Gaston Schnegg, twins in art, show some spontaneous works of sculpture that seem to owe little to scholarly studies."
On May 12-th 1898, the two brothers wrote to Rodin : "Facing the hostility you met from the Société des Gens de Lettres(1), we consider it a duty to tell you of our wholehearted admiration for your talent and especially for your statue of Balzac."
At the Universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris, Lucien Schnegg won the gold medal for his busts : in particular for a six month baby girl's bust, a man's bust and an old man's study.
In addition to his own sculpture, he collaborated with Rodin who appreciated and admired his work. In 1905 he rented a studio rue de Vaugirard, 201, in Paris. A gifted decorator, he was in great demand and worked on large Parisian mansions like the Hôtel Astoria, in 1907, cooperating there with his brother.
In September 1909 he spent some holidays in Le Canon by the Bassin d'Arcachon (not far from Bordeaux), and, after eating oysters, became very ill. Unfortunately he did not recover and died on December 22-nd at the Pasteur Hospital in Paris, due to typhoid fever. He was only forty-five years old.At his funeral, in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris, seeing the large attendance, Rodin said : "All his enemies are here". This comment testifies to the fact that his talent had aroused much jealousy.
|When he was buried, in Montparnasse cemetery, in front
of a large audience, Rodin said : "all his ennemies
are here". This proves that his great talent raised
However, he had many friends who took part in the fund set up to aid his widow and children. The fund was organized by his brother Gaston and Rodin who wrote this preface for the tombola booklet :
"Here are some words I was honored to be asked for, and I write them with sadness. Lucien Schnegg. He had the courage of a true sculptor : he pulled much out of himself as reformers do.
He left works showing a way, and others still more beautiful, and then a full masterpiece : the bust of the Republic. Further, he sculpted palatial-looking houses with a taste which returns to those beautiful ages he understood so passionately. In decoration he was intuitive and a learned adviser. This enthusiastic sculptor did not display needless arrogance, but he was proud as one who feels true and poor. Death set him in his place with the heroes of work".
(1) This Society had ordered from Rodin a statue of Balzac (a famous French writer), but found the work shocking and refused it.
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