Sculptures 19th century - early 20th century
From 1830 onwards, the 19th century became mainly the century of the bourgeoisie. In public places, figures of dignitaries, artists, eminent scholars or explorers triumphed, often replacing those of kings or of emperors. Cemeteries – veritable museums of sculpture such as the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris – were filled with realistic weeping figures, embodying eternal grief at the foot of the tombs of great men.
During the Second Empire and the first decades of the Third Republic, the abundant, eclectic production of sculpture flourished. Among the most famous artists of the time are Falguière, Clerc, Marqueste, Rodin, Claudel, to quote those represented in the museum's collections.
Ségoffin, Mengue and Seysses amongst others, were part of the famous ‘Toulousans'group', trained at the Paris School of Fine Arts (l'Ecole des Beaux-arts de Paris) by Alexandre Falguière, their leader. In the monumental staircase in the Darcy wing (1882), leading to the great cloister, the museum presents several works by these artists as well as a bust of the Toulousan painter Jean-Paul Laurens by his friend Rodin and a bust of a young Paul Claudel, the work of his sister, the tremendously moving Camille Claudel.
The museum does also own a good collection of sculpture from the twenties and thirties, by artists among whom many are Toulousan such as Gilbert Privat, Joseph Monin, Carlos Sarrabezolles or Sylvestre Clerc. Most of these works are not currently on show although Sylvestre Clerc's Hercules as a Child can be seen at the bottom of the Darcy staircase.