Alfred Boucher

A French sculptor, Alfred Boucher (September 23, 1850 – 1934), mentor to Camille Claudel and friend of Auguste Rodin.

Born in Bouy-sur-Ovin (Nogent-sur-Seine), he was the son of a farmhand who became the gardener of the sculptor Joseph Marius Ramus, who, after recognizing Boucher's talent, opened his studio to him.

He won the Grand Prix du Salon in 1881 with "La Piété Filiale."

He then moved to Florence for a long period and was a favourite sculptor of presidents and royals such as George I of Greece and Maria-Pia of Romania.

He provided inspiration and encouragement to the next generation of sculptors such as Laure Coutan and Camille Claudel. The latter was depicted in "Camille Claudel lisant" by Boucher and later she herself sculpted a bust of her mentor. Before moving to Florence and after having taught Claudel and others for over three years, Boucher asked Auguste Rodin to take over the instruction of his pupils. This is how Auguste Rodin and Claudel met and their tumultuous and passionate relationship started.

Ever generous and philanthropic, he founded the studio La Ruche in Montparnasse in 1902 to help young artists.

He received the Grand Prix de sculpture de l'Exposition Universelle in 1900. He died in Aix-les-Bains at the age of 84.

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