Constantin Meunier (Brussels 1831 - Ixelles 1905)
indistinctly inscribed upper right
charcoal on paper
840 x 630 mm
Constantin Meunier’s contribution to the field of Belgian art lies in his iconisation of the modern working man and the illumination of his daily plight. Trained as a sculptor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, Meunier changed medium after his first exhibition at the Brussels Salon of 1851, believing canvas could better articulate his social concerns than bronze. From this point, Meunier specialised in depictions of miners, factory workers, dockhands, ploughmen, and peasants. As with this drawing, these were often large-scale works focusing on a single figure pausing mid-labour [figs. 1-3]. Ironically, it was in returning to sculpture in 1885, that Meunier’s work grew to public acclaim. His colossal sculptures championing the working life of the industrialising 19th century are still visible as public monuments in Brussels.
The writing on the top right hand corner of this drawing can be closely compared with similar inscriptions found on drawings in the Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique in the artist's hand documenting subject or location.
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