Dalou, Aimé-Jules (French, 1838-1902)

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Aimé-Jules Dalou (1838-1902) was a French sculptor, who was renowned for his skilful naturalistic rendering of subjects.

Dalou trained at the Petit École in Paris where he initially practised draughtsmanship. The artist quickly changed his focus to sculpture, which became his established field. In 1854, Dalou entered l'École des Beaux-Arts, where he trained for a further four years.

Dalou made no secret of his left-wing political sympathies; he was involved in the establishment of the Paris Commune in 1871. After this was overthrown, Dalou was forced into exile in London, where he lived until his return to Paris in 1879.

In London, Dalou frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy. South Kensington's National Art Training school – later the Royal College of Art – awarded Dalou a teaching appointment. In this position, Dalou was able to exert a profound effect on the development of British sculpture.

On his return to France Dalou was hailed as a celebrated sculptor. In 1889, Dalou was awarded the Exposition Universelle's Grand Prix. Dalou was later made a commander of the French Légion d'honneur and became one of the founders of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Today, Dalou's work is exhibited in the most prestigious of places, and remains as impressive as when first cast.