PIERRE-JEAN DAVID D'ANGERS (Angers 1788 - 1856 Paris)
Henri Dutrochet (1776-1847)
Cast bronze with warm brown patina
6 ½ inches (164 mm)
Signed and dated, bottom center: David 1842
Inscribed, left: h. Dutrochet
Foundry mark, reverse: Eck et Durand
René-Joachim-Henri Dutrochet was a physician, botanist and physiologist. After studying medicine in Paris and serving as a military medical officer in Spain, he gave up the practice of medicine to devote himself to scientific research, with a special focus on plant and animal physiology. His numerous studies included investigations of embryology, the human voice and vocal cord movement, respiration, bone production, the growth and reproduction of plants, the discovery of osmosis, and contributions to modern cell theory. In 1821 he was awarded the French Academy’s prize for experimental physiology for his Recherches sur l’accroissement et la reproduction des végétaux.
Pierre-Jean David d’Angers was arguably the most important sculptor France produced at the beginning of the 19th century. Among other achievements, he is renowned for the Galerie des Contemporains, his personal pantheon of great men and women in medallic form that he produced during his lifetime. David’s galerie would eventually number over five hundred portraits including politicians, writers, artists, musicians, composers and actors, inspired—in part—by David’s ardent republican sympathies.
In the last decades before Louis-Jacques Daguerre’s (1787-1851) invention of photography, David’s Galerie des Contemporains created a virtual pantheon of the international Romantic Movement in cast bronze.