The Wallace Collection

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Guillaume I Coustou (1677 - 1746)
  • Place of Birth: Lyon
  • Place of Death: Paris
Biography
Works of Art

Nephew of Antoine Coysevox (1640-1720), premier sculpteur of Louis XIV, Guillaume I Coustou was born in Lyon, but trained with his uncle in Paris. Despite winning the Prix de Rome in 1697, he was not offered a place at the Academy and had to go to Rome at his own expense, where he worked for Pierre Legros (1666-1719) whose style greatly influenced him.

After his return to Paris in 1700 he began working with his uncle and immediately made a name for himself in the carving of brilliantly dynamic marbles. He became member of the Academy in 1704 and was later made a Professor and Rector in 1733. He was mostly employed by the bâtiments du roi but also produced important funerary monuments for private patrons. He continued to enjoy great success after Louis XIV’s death and in the 1730s was the most famous sculptor working for the court. The Marly Horses are generally listed among the greatest masterpieces of French eighteenth-century art.