The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House

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Corneille van Clève (1646 - 1732)
  • Place of Birth: Paris, France
  • Place of Death: Paris, France
Works of Art

Corneille van Clève belonged to a family of goldsmiths of Flemish origin who settled in France in the early seventeenth century. Little is known about his study or training, although early biographers reported him as studying with the Anguier brothers. He spent six years at the French Academy in Rome, focusing on the study of Bernini’s work, before transferring to Venice for four years and returning to Paris in 1678. He soon began a long and successful career, working for the king in marble, stucco, wood and bronze. In 1692 he received the commission to design all the statues on the exterior of the Château de Vincennes. In 1695 he was granted a pension from Louis XIV, which he retained until 1720. In 1703 he moved his residence into the Louvre, again as a royal concession. He also worked for religious patrons, powerful families such as the Condé and the marquis de Louvois, and produced small marble and bronze sculpture for numerous private collectors and amateurs. Coming from a family of goldsmiths, he also provided designs for furniture mounts and small utensils such as candlesticks. Van Clève was also active within the Academy, where he became Assistant Professor in 1691, moving on to become Rector in 1715 at the death of Girardon, and finally Chancellor in 1720.