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Louis Alexandre Bottée (1852-1940)

                                                                                                     Alexandre Louis Bottée

Monsieur Bottée was a talented and highly esteemed French medal engraver and sculptor. He produced a large quantity of work and influenced the artistic world of sculpture and medal engraving.

He is born in the midst of political turmoil and regime changes in France. In 1852, Napoleon III accesses power and the beginning of the Second French Empire is also the year of Louis Alexander Bottée ‘s birth.

Born in Paris and issued from a poor family, he was not able to receive an expensive education. Therefore and at the age of 13, he is sent to work at the button factory. He is a quick learner and his talent brings him into the engraving atelier of the factory, where the buttons are designed.

At night classes he receives his first artistic education in a drawing school. Louis is a hard worker and he is to enter at the age of 17, the ” Ecole des Arts Decoratifs ” in Paris. From where he enters the atelier of Master Paulin Tasset, where he is able to finish his practical formation. Two years later, after the Franco-Prussian War, in 1871, he is admitted at the ” Ecole National Superieure des Beaux-Arts ” of Paris. During the next 4 years, he’ll be working for the famous artistic ateliers of Dumont, Millet, and Chaplain.

From 1875 until 1882 is his Italian period. He travels a lot and participates in artistic contests. In 1878 he receives the first prize of the ” Prix de Rome ” for his medal engraving. From 1880 to 1882 he resides at the French Academy of the Villa de Medicis in Rome, where he produces many medals, drawings, and the famous Haut-Relief of Saint Sebastian.

He returns to France and received at the “Salon de Paris” a prize for his work. It is from that point on that may be said that Louis Bottée starts his career as a renowned and appreciated artist. From 1887 to 1900 he wins many prestigious prizes, for example, the gold medal at the contest of the 1900 Universal Expo of Paris. In 1903 Bottée receives the medal as an officer of the French ” Legion d’Honneur “. In 1930, he is appointed as a member of the “Academie des Beaux-Arts ” of France.

Bottées’ work is rich, characterized by delicateness and softness in the design and inspiration, and great research and preparation in the compositions. Some of his work has a typical art nouveau style. His designs are alike paused moments of actions, as they would come alive at any moment.

His regularity in quality provides him with many private orders and his authority even crosses the Atlantic, to South American countries, where he produces works for the Brazilian and Chilean governments.

Not much is known of the end of his life. He died on the 14th of November in 1941 and left behind him an enormous heritage and influenced greatly the world of the art medal.

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