Constantin Meunier was one of the premier European Social Realists of the late 19th century, considered on par with Jean-François Millet and Charles de Groux. While he began his artistic career as a sculptor, he pursued only painting from 1857-1884. Thematically, his work was based largely in humanitarian interests, many of his subjects being laborers, miners, metalworkers, dockworkers, and women at home. In 1882, the Belgian government sponsored Meunier on a trip to Spain, where he painted religious subjects. Upon his return he refocused his energy on social themes, only now he began to express his empathy and respect for commonplace subjects by sculpting them in bronze. One of his most notable works was a large outdoor sculpture group entitled Monument to Labour, installed in Brussels’ Place de Trooz in 1930.
Private Collection of Ginette and Alain Lesieutre
Micheline Jérome-Schotsmans, Constantin Meunier : Sa vie, son œuvre, Brussels : Bertrand, 2012, no. 74, ill p. 153
Francisca Vandepitte, Constantin Meunier (1831-1905), Tielt : Lannoo, 2014, p. 309, cat. no. 87, ill p. 203