This personification of the Spirit of Dance leaps exuberantly upward, shaking a tambourine. It is modified from a larger relief sculpture created for the exterior of the celebrated elaborate opera house that opened in Paris in 1869. When it was unveiled, the public was shocked at the figure's wild, unclothed abandon, which violated contemporary standards of decent public behavior.
Artist Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, French, 1827-1875
  • Genius of the Dance
Date 1872
Medium Plaster
Dimensions Mount (base): 25 × 29 × 34 inches (63.5 × 73.7 × 86.4 cm)
Overall (object only): 86 5/8 × 35 × 40 inches (220 × 88.9 × 101.6 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Allan Shelden III Fund
Accession Number 1983.16
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View Modern N200, Level 2 (see map)
Marks Foundry mark in the form of a metal plaque inserted into the plaster of the group's supporting element, inscribed "Propriete Carpeaux" and with a small eagle cachet.
Atelier J. B. Carpeaux;
His sale, Galerie Manzi, Joyant, Paris, 30 May 1913, lot1;
Baron Robert Gustave de Rothschild, Paris;
His son, by descent;
Colnaghi and Company, Ltd (dealer), London
Catalogue De Sculptures Originales Par J. B. Carpeaux. Sales cat., Galerie Manzi, Joyant, Paris, May 30, 1913, p. 2, no. 3 (purchased by Baron de Rothschild).

Wasserman, Jeanne L., ed. Metamorphoses In Nineteenth-Century Sculpture. Exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum. Cambridge, MA, 1975, pp. 132-140.

The Romantics to Rodin. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1980, p. 153f.

Sur Les Traces De Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. Exh. cat., Grand Palais. Paris, 1975, pp. 284-329.

Kocks, Dirk. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux Rezeption Und Originalitat. Sankt Augustin, 1981, pp. 88-103.

Bulletin of the DIA 61, no. 3, (1982/83): 9 (no article, illustration only).

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 152-153 (ill.).
Wagner, A. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux: Sculptor of the Second Empire. London, 1986, pp. 239, 250-251.

Darr, A. P. "European sculpture and decorative arts acquired by the Detroit Institute of Arts 1978-87." The Burlington Magazine 130 (June 1988): 499, fig. 113 (ill.).

Darr, A. P. "Two newly acquired sculptures by Rude and Rodin in the Detroit Institute of Arts." in La Sculpture en Occident: Etudes offertes à Jean-René Gaborit, eds. G. Bresc-Bautier, F. Baron and P.-Y. Le Pogam. Paris, 2007, p. 273.