Bas-relief project Amazone, Circa 1890
Watercolour over graphite pencil sketch
© Les Arts Décoratifs / Jean Tholance

A little-known but highly original figure of 19th-century sculpture, Henry Cros (1840-1907), brother of poet Charles Cros (1842-1888), received help and praise from Rodin and later Bourdelle, references that gave him a coveted place in the history of modernity.

With an atypical career from his training onwards, this sculptor was also a painter, renewing the tradition of encaustic painting, with a veritable passion for polychromy, and eager to develop new approaches and techniques for colour sculpture, just as his brother Charles did for colour photography. For example, he became the first sculptor to employ the material of glass, by inventing the technique he referred to as “glass paste” (pâte-de-verre) in 1884. He also had a keen interest in the field of the decorative arts. In addition, he was an excellent and prolific draughtsman: part of his production was only revealed to the public after his death thanks to the famous gallery of founder A. A. Hébrard. The Musée des Arts décoratifs has brought together a remarkable collection of his works on paper, including most of his personal notebooks, kept by his family.

The large donations of his work received by the Musée des Arts décoratifs since 1914, and especially graphic arts pieces, from 1993 onwards, are for the most part unpublished.

This monographic exhibition, presented on the occasion of the 2024 Drawing Salon highlights this rich heritage.

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