Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin (1811-1890)
a sculptor visiting the Impressionists
Was Auguste Ottin an Impressionist?
Rendering mythological figures Auguste Ottin seems more a Neo-Classical artist. Several sculptures have a dramatical sense, what indicates a Romantic influence. There is no rendering of every day people and life. So I would not call his style impressionistic (though honestly I don’t know well how to define impressionist sculpture).
Sure is that at the start Auguste Ottin was actively involved in the ‘Société Anonyme…‘ and the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition. Maybe motivated by his socialist believes, his involvement with the Commune and his own plea in 1870 for independent expositions. Why he stopped his involvement after 1874 stays unclear. Sure is that in 1874 and later he also exhibited at the Salon, so probably he never choose te be completely independent of the Salon. He also kept receiving commissions from the State. There is (almost) nothing known about contacts with other Impressionists. So I would say that only in the beginning Auguste Ottin was part of the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
Auguste Ottin at the Salon:
Auguste Ottin received the second Prix de Rome in 1833 with ‘le Vieillard et les enfants’ (R87;aR4;R16). He received the first Grand prix de Rome for sculpture in 1836 (iR1;R16;R3;aR3;aR7;R87). He made his debut at the Salon in 1841 (R87;R16;R3;aR4), though in 1836 there also was an ‘Ottin’ exhibiting at the Salon. It is unclear if this was our Auguste (iR1). Received a ‘médaille de 2e classe’ in 1842. Received a ‘médaille de 1ère classe’ in 1846. (iR1;R3;aR4) Also receives a medal 2e classe in 1867, had a great succes at the Exposition Universal and is appointed Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur (R3;aR9;iR23;iR4;aR4;R87). He regularly had commissions from the state (iR1;R87). He will regularly exhibit from 1836-1886. (iR1) It seams he exhibited several works more than 1 time (sometimes a copy in another material; see account + pictures; R87).
A.L.M. Ottin only joined the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition:
At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin showed 10 works (catalogue numbers 119-128) (R2,p122). He showed all sculptures, 8 of them he exhibited earlier at the Salon (often he showed a copy in another material). He is shortly mentioned by Burty (1874/04/25) and praised by De Montifaud (1874/05/01) (R87,p262+268).
Auguste Ottin was a member of the Société Anonyme… founded 1873/12/27 (R1,p314;R2,p105) and belonged to the supervisory board (R22I,p106). At the end of 1874 Auguste Ottin prepared a financial statement, which eventually led to the liquidation of the ‘Société Anonyme..’ 1874/12/17, where Auguste and his son Léon were present (R1,p336).
See link for his pictures. See link for an account.
Auguste Ottin was a supporter of Fourierism:
Auguste Ottin was a supporter of Fourierism, a religious, utopian, socialist movement (iR3). Some sources say that Ottin was converted to Fourierism during his stay in Rome (iR70;aR3). Others due to his contacts with Nanteuil (aR13,p256). He was imprisoned for this conviction in 1848 (aR13,p263). In 1871 he participated in the defense of the 18e arrondissement under the Commune and, together with his son Léon, was appointed to the Fédération des artistes (aR13,p263). In 1872 he approached the Chambre syndicale with proposals for a drawing school owned and run as a workers’ cooperative, and in May of that year he joined Chabert in founding the mutualist Union syndicale ouvrière, a body repressed by the government five months later. From this perspective, Ottin’s participation in the 1874 exhibition of the ‘Artistes indépendants’ suggests endorsement of a cooperatist venture within the artistic professions, rather than any aesthetic sympathy with the other participants.’ (aR13,p263).
Auguste Ottin as an artist:
Auguste Ottin was a pupil of David d’Angers (iR1;R87;iR3;aR1;iR70;R3;R16). Auguste Ottin started his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1825 (aR3;iR3). During his study he assisted Antoine-Louis Barye (iR70). Auguste Ottin was a friend of Théodore Chassériau who made in 1833 a drawing of Ottin (iR3;aR7). Around 1835 he began to visit the atelier of Célestin Nanteuil (aR13,p256). Among his wide circle of friends was Gautier (aR13,p256).
Auguste Ottin was an accademic sculptur (aR7). His style was eclectic (iR4). Ottin was influenced by Romanticism (iR4). He had an independent character (iR70). Sometimes he took a realist subject and gave it a classical treatment (iR70). He has not any connection to Impressionism (R3).
Auguste Ottin had some pupils: Sylvain Raffegeaud; Nicolet (=Mme Fina) (iR69).
Watercolours made by L. Ottin:
There are several drawings / watercolours signed by L. Ottin. The most logical to think is that they were made by Léon-Auguste Ottin (1836-1918). The signature also compares the signature Léon Ottin uses in his book about stained glass windows (see). Many of these watercolours depict city-views of Paris and especially Montmartre. Léon Ottin exhibited several watercolours at the Salon and exhibited several works at the ‘impressionist’ expositions of 1874 and 1876 that depict city-views of Montmartre (see account). Some of the drawings / watercolours now known were made in 1831 and 1839. So they can’t be made by Léon Ottin who was born in 1836.
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France (iR26;iR40) renders many of these watercolours made by L. Ottin and attributes them to Auguste Louis Marie Ottin, the father of Léon. So do some other sources (aR1). In the Salon database he is mostly called Auguste-Louis-Marie / Auguste / A. Ottin (iR1). So you expect the signature ‘A. Ottin’. But a watercolour made in 1836 is signed Louis Marie Ottin. And in the Salon of 1853 he is called Louis Marie Auguste Ottin. So this would explain the signature ‘L. Ottin’. But still Auguste Ottin never exhibited watercolours nor works depicting Paris and Montmartre (see account). So I assume that only the early watercolours were made by August and all the others by his son Léon Ottin.
Short biography of Auguste-Louis-Marie Jenks Ottin:
- 1811/12/11: Auguste Ottin was born in Paris; his father was Auguste-Denis-Victoire Ottin (born 1787); his mother Anne Barthelemi Charbonnier (born 1790) (aR6;iR70)
Some sources render 1811/11/11 as date of birth (aR9;iR4;aR7).
Most sources don’t add ‘Jenks’ to the name (iR60).
- His father was a bronze turner who later established a successful small business as a manufacturer of ornamental clocks; he was part of the upwardly mobile petite bourgeoisie (aR13,p256)
- 1813: his mother died (aR6)
- 1835/05/19: married with Suzanne Élisabeth Arsandaux (1814-90) (aR6)
- 1836: obtained the ‘Grand Prix de Rome for Sculpture’ with his statue ‘Socrate buvant la ciguë’ (Socrates drinking the draft) (iR3;aR1;iR70)
- 1836: probably lives at 12, rue Simon-le-Franc, Paris (iR1), in the 4th arrondissement (iR9).
- 1836/10/30: his son, the later artist Léon-Auguste Ottin, was born in Paris (aR6)
- 1837/01/29 – 1840/12/31: stay in Rome (aR10)
- 1841: lives at 13, rue des Petites-Ecuries, Paris (iR1), in the 10th arrondissement (iR9).
- 1842-61: Auguste Ottin lived at 16, rue de l’Ouest, Paris (iR1), in the 14th arrondissement (iR9). Note: his son Léon also lived there.
- 1848/09/23: in the paper ‘Le Constitutionnel’ there is a report of a military court where a ‘Louis-Xavier-Auguste Ottin’ a captain in the army stands accused (aR14)
- 1850ca: was commissioned for sculptural elements for a room in an old palazzo in Florence (iR3). Exhibited at the Salon of 1850.
- 1850ca: Made ‘Laure de Noves; statue, marbre’. Commissioned for the Jardin du Luxembourg by Louis-Philippe (iR3). Part of the serie: Reines de France et femmes illustres in the Jardin du Luxembourg (iR4).
- 1861: Ottin made an official sculpture of Napoleon III (now in Compiègne) (iR3)
- 1863-76: Auguste Ottin lived at 9, Rue Vincent-Compoint, Paris (Montmartre) (iR1). Note: his son Léon also lived there.
- 1864: publishes a book titled: A. Ottin: Esquisse d’une méthode applicable à l’art de la sculpture (aR13,p263)
- 1867/06/29: appointed ‘Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur’ (aR9;iR23;iR4;aR4)
- 1868: published a book titled: ‘Méthode Elementaire du Dessin’ (aR8;aR3;iR4).
- 1870: Auguste Ottin publishes a pamphlet titled ‘Organisation des arts du dessin’ in which he ask the Minister to assign a meeting place where artists can join together in a free organisation of fine arts (aR12,p14)
- 1882-1886: Auguste Ottin lived at 46, Rue Lepic, Paris (iR1), in the 18th arrondissement (iR9).
- 1890/12/07: died in Neuilly-sur-Seine (92, Hauts-de-Seine) (aR6), this is north of the Bois du Boulogne, just west of Paris (iR9).
Some sources mention he died in Paris (iR70;R3;iR3). Some sources mention he died 1890/12/08 (iR4;iR70) or 1890/12/09 (aR7).
Most sources on Impressionism don’t mention Auguste Ottin at all. The sources that mention him do so only shortly. My main sources are Rewald (1973, R1), Moffett (1986, R2), Walther (2013, R3), Spiess (1992, R16,p252), Dayez (1974, R87,p247/8), the Salon database (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3;iR4), data.bnf.fr (iR26), gallica.bnf.fr (iR40), and the additional references (=aR; see below). The RKD (iR24) doesn’t mention him at all. For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are Wikimedia (iR6), the additional references (=aR) and Google images (iR10). The-athenaeum (iR2) renders no picture at all. For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
For further reading see:
Bénézit (1976,=R75), Busse (1977,p195=R77), Thieme-Becker (R79), Grove Art (iR70), Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (R81) (iR60).
Ottin, Léon Auguste: Biographie d’Ottin (Auguste-Louis-Marie) sculpteur. Archives du Louvre Mss. 9HH7 (aR13,p256)
Normand, A. le: La tradition classique et l’esprit romantique: les sculpteurs de l’Académie de France à Rome de 1824 à 1840. (1981) (aR13,p256)
Maitron: Dictionnaire biographique du movement ouvrier français (1864-1871) (aR13,p263)
Malon: obituary of Auguste Ottin. Revue socialiste (December 1890) (aR13,p263)
- Vanished French Impressionists 9 (article about ALM Ottin and others=iR35)
- books.google (preview of a book written by ALM Ottin about drawing)
- www.nella.buscot.com (a short biography and 6 pictures of ALM Ottin; =iR124)
- www.wikiphidias.fr (a short biography, overview of works and 17 pictures of ALM Ottin; =iR125)
- www.alienor.org (info on a statue exhibited at the Salon of 1861; = iR126)
- gw.geneanet.org (family tree of ALM Ottin; =iR79)
- peoplepill.com (biography on Auguste Ottin)
- gallica.bnf.fr (Auguste Ottin, Méthode élémentaire de dessin, Librairie Hachette, Paris, 1868; online book;=iR40)
- www2.culture.gouv.fr (document of Ottin appointed as Chevalier d’honneur; rendering his date of birth 1811/11/11; =iR23)
- artlas.huma-num.fr (information about his stay in Rome)
- data.bnf.fr (data and pictures of ALM Ottin; note they render his name also as L. Ottin and they render 18 drawings / watercolours of which most are probably made by his son Léon-Auguste Ottin; =iR26)
- gallica.bnf.fr (A. Ottin: Organisation des arts du dessin : expositions publiques, encouragements, commandes officielles; Édouard Blot, Paris, 1870; 15p. = iR40)
- books.google.com (e-book from Neil McWilliam: Dreams of Happiness: Social Art and the French left, 1830-1850; =iR131)
- gallica.bnf.fr ; (list of documents in which the name Ottin appears; =iR40)