(b. 1790, Genève, d. 1852, Rueil)

The Ironer (La Repasseuse)

c. 1850
Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva

Pradier was in Italy from 1813 to 1819 and thus missed the upheavals of the fall of Napoleon and the Bourbon Restoration. He returned from his years in Italy an almost unblemished classicist. Yet, after 1830, he infused a new sense of modernity and sensuality in his art. His conversion to realism was sincere and led to him being a pioneer of everyday subjects, such as the Ironer. Significantly, such works are small-scale bronzes. In this semi-private type of sculpture it was possible to experiment with innovations without undermining the values of mainstream monumental sculpture.