Puddlers in Profile

Composition by Constantin Meunier Belgian
Executed by Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 552

Influenced by the social realism of Courbet, the Belgian painter and sculptor Constantin Meunier (1831–1905) is celebrated for his images of industrial workers. Iron puddlers, charged with converting pig iron to wrought iron, undertook strenuous labor and lived short lives due to their exposure to toxic emissions. A collaboration with the French art potter Adrien Dalpayrat, this double portrait evokes the strength and tragic heroism of these men within the unjust social and economic conditions of the time. By emulating the medallic profiles of important individuals found on the faces of ancient and Renaissance cameos, coins and medals, Meunier elevated the ordinary industrial worker to the status of a modern icon.

Puddlers in Profile, Composition by Constantin Meunier (Belgian, Etterbeek 1831–1905 Ixelles), Stoneware, French

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