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Gallery Text

Though never elected to full membership in the Academy, Clodion was one of the most esteemed sculptors of the eighteenth century, and during his first residence in Rome he shared a studio with Jean-Antoine Houdon. Clodion worked frequently with terracotta, or baked clay, a material that was traditionally used by sculptors to explore ideas for larger projects in more expensive materials; it was highly prized by collectors around the middle of the eighteenth century for its sketchy, provisional qualities. Clodion responded to the growing market for terracotta sculpture by producing numerous small-scale works such as these. Toward the end of the century, he favored groups with inverted poses, such as these two figures carrying putti on opposite shoulders and turning in opposite directions, and he embraced the neoclassical style, basing the figures’ drapery and hairstyles on ancient models.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Claude Michel, called Clodion, French (Nancy, France 1738 - 1814 Paris, France)
Young Woman Carrying a Child on Her Left Shoulder
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Young Girl Carrying a Child on her Left Shoulder / Maiden in Classical drapery, with garlands on a tray and a putto on her shoulder / Young Girl Dressed in Antique Style, Carrying a Child on her Shoulder / Girl Carrying a Child
Work Type
Level 2, Room 2220, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Rococo and Neoclassicism in the Eighteenth Century
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Physical Descriptions
41.8 x 16 x 18.2 cm (16 7/16 x 6 5/16 x 7 3/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: incised into top of integral base: CLODION
  • label: bottom of base, black ink on red and white paper label, handwritten: T.K.S.
  • label: bottom of base?, paper: L55.56.1 [removed by conservation, 1985]
Comtesse Montesquiou-Fezensac, Paris, sold [through her sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris. No. 122]. Carlos G. de Candamo, sold [through Galerie Charpentier, no. 71, 1934]. Therese Kuhn (Mrs. Herbert N.) Straus, New York, NY, gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1978.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Therese Kuhn Straus in memory of her husband, Herbert N. Straus, Harvard Class of 1903
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Henri Thirion, Les Adam et Clodion, A. Quantin (Paris, France, 1885), p. 408

French Painting and Sculpture of the XVIII Century, exh. cat., Plantin Press (New York, NY, 1935), no. 102

Anne Poulet and Guilhem Scherf, Clodion 1738-1814, exh. cat., Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1992), p. 385, repr. as fig. 203

Exhibition History

French Painting and Sculpture of the XVIII Century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 11/06/1935 - 01/05/1936

Exhibition of the Mrs. Herbert N. Straus Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 05/13/1978 - 06/17/1978

Re-View: S424-426 Western Art from 1560 to 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 2220 18th-19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu