The Emporium of Things: Sculpture and Commerce in Nineteenth-Century Paris

This seminar explores the production and consumption of sculpture in Paris during the 19th century. There was a surge in the market for small-scale sculpture, fueled by the rise of bronze foundries and the invention of new technologies of reproduction, enabling the widespread consumption of objects once confined to the cabinets of wealthy and aristocratic collectors. The burgeoning trade in sculpture spawned a new breed of sculptor-entrepreneurs who were less reliant upon state commissions and more sensitive to the ebb and flow of commercial exchange. However, this posed challenges to long-held conceptions of authorship and authenticity and the supposed boundary between art and industry.