Bourdelle’s Beethoven Obsession: Sculpting a Genius

Emile-Antoine Bourdelle was born on October 30th 1861 at Montauban. At the age of 15 he entered the Beaux Arts, at Toulouse.

In 1884 Bourdelle went up to Paris. In 1888, the artist was 27 years old, and created his first piece on Beethoven, a theme on which he worked throughout his life.

From 1893 to 1908, he was practitioner to Auguste Rodin. His first personal exposition opened in 1905. He created his best known work, “Héraklès archer”, in 1910.

Antoine Bourdelle died on October 1st 1929 at Vésinet.

The Antoine Bourdelle museum is situated at 18, rue Antoine Bourdelle, in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. This is where the sculptor had his studios.

The museum was created in 1949 following a donation by his wife and daughter to the Mayor of Paris.

Today several hundred of his works are kept here, some of which are gigantic.

A room labelled “Collection Bourdelle”, holds more than two dozen pieces by Bourdelle representing Beethoven: masks, minature statues, paintings and studies…

Over to you to discover the talents of this artist…

Text engraved on the base of the sculpture:
“I am Bacchus who squeezes for men the delicious nectar”
(extract from a letter from Bettina von Arnim to Goethe, where she quotes Beethoven).