French ivory sculptor
Do you think that you may own an ivory sculpture by Pierre-Adrien Graillon? We authenticate, appraise, research and issue certificates of authenticity (COA) and provide consultations for all ivory sculptures by Pierre-Adrien Graillon.
As a child in Dieppe, Graillon and his widowed mother worked in a chalk-quarry. Graillon saw the lovely ivory carvings in the windows of Dieppe shops and decided to learn the craft of ivory working. He was encouraged in his studies by one of the families of Dieppe ivory masters: the Blard. In adolescence Graillon worked as a cobbler in Paris. At age twenty he went back to Dieppe to study art and marry. While in art school, he learned to work ivory, alabaster, terracotta, wood and clay. Graillon was also a painter. Unlike most of the other Dieppe ivory masters, Graillon did not come from a family ivory-workers. Several years after moving back to Dieppe, Graillon returned to Paris as a well-regarded sculptor and worked in the studio of the eminent sculptor Pierre-Jean David d'Angers. In 1838, unhappy with the competition of the Salons, he left Paris for Dieppe.
Graillon's sympathetic but not sentimental reliefs of the working people of Dieppe won him enormous renown throughout Europe. Graillon's subject matter was realistic, and unlike many artists of his age, he shunned historical or religious subjects.
Pierre-Adrien Graillon, Fishermen in clothing typical of La Poulette, the fishing area of Dieppe, they are mending a fishing net while listening to a sea yarn. Mid-nineteenth century. No dimensions given. Dieppe Museum, France.
Napoleon III of the Second Empire was not a great patron of the arts, but under his reign Paris was completely revamped by Baron Haussmann. Napoleon III awarded Graillon the Legion of Honor and visited Graillon in Dieppe in 1858. It is believed that Napoleon was moved to award him the Legion of Honor by Graillon's social conscience, shown in his depiction of the poor and working class. Several years earlier, Graillon had completed the portrait ivory cameo below of the Emperor and Empress.
Pierre-Adrien Graillon, Portrait in ivory to commemorate the 1853 marriage of the Emperor of the French Louis-Napoleon III (1808-73) and his wife Empress Eugénie de Montijo (1826-1920) executed in 1854, 14 x 10 cm; Dieppe Museum, France.
Graillon's sons Felix and Cesar continued their father's sculptor studio after Pierre-Adrien's death on December 14, 1872.
The last major retrospective of his work was in Dieppe in 1969. There is very little literature on Graillon's oeuvre.
Do you think you own a piece of French ivory that could have been carved by Pierre-Adrien Graillon? Please contact us, we understand the nuances of Graillon's work. Our email is [email protected] and our telephone is 1 (866) 464-8017.