Aimé-Jules Dalou (1838-1902) Maternity (also known as French Peasant or Paysanne française)
Terracotta, signed DALOU French, c. 1873-80
During his nine-year exile in England, Dalou produced a series of statuettes of women from across the classes in a style of gentle realism, which commented on the highly stratified nature of modern society. Many were exhibited at The Royal Academy, including an earlier version of this group, which shows a French peasant girl seated on an upturned basket, suckling her child. Despite its humble subject-matter, the composition became immediately popular and was reproduced in different sizes and materials including bronze, marble, and biscuit porcelain by the Sevres factory. I was aso circulated as an engraving, which was copied by Vincent Van Gogh.