Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741 - 1828), born in Versailles, began formal training at age 12 at the Ecole Royale de Sculpture. After further education in Rome, he returned to Paris in 1768, where he soon achieved fame by exhibiting his work at the Biennal Salon held at the Louvre under the sponsorship of the Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Over a 50 year period, he executed busts and statues of many of the period's most important people, including Napoleon, Voltaire, Moliere, Diderot, Rousseau and Gluck.
The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, January 1998.
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