Louis Robert Carriere Belleuse was born in Paris in 1848. Son of the more famous sculptor Albert Ernest Carrier Belleuse and brother of the painter Pierre Carrier Belleuse.
After being introduced to sculpture by his father, he attended the École des Beaux Arts de Paris, where he was a pupil of the painters Gustave Boulanger and Alexandre Cabanel. At the same time he was an apprentice in the workshop of a bronze worker, where he learned the art of chiselling. Nevertheless, he made his debut as a painter at the 1870 Salon with the painting The letter. In 1871, he was enlisted as a soldier in the Franco-Prussian war against the Germans.
Working with ceramics
He began working in sculpture again in the mid-1970s. The ceramist Théodore Deck, owner of the Maison Deck factory in Vaugirard, introduced him to ceramics in 1877 and welcomed him into his factory.
This event was the turning point in the sculptor’s career, and he entered a planter in the Sèvres competition in 1882. It was an immediate success: the Sèvres porcelain factory decided to buy the design and the finished object, now in the Musée d’Orsay. He then started working in the Sèvres porcelain factory with his father, who was its artistic director from 1875.
Louis Robert Carriere Belleuse was then employed as a draughtsman for the Faïencerie de Choisy-le-Roi, for whom he produced one of his most famous designs, the Every Man for Himself vase, the first plaster model of which he presented at the 1896 Salon and then at the 1898 Salon in sandstone, along with the other three vases Music, Hercules and Onphale, Children and Butterflies.
The pâte sur pâte technique
Imaginative compositions and the combination of bright colours are the strong points of his ceramics, in which he used the “pâte sur pâte” technique. A method of working and decorating porcelain in which a relief design is created on a still unglazed base with a colour by applying successive layers of white porcelain. Once the main shape has been constructed, it is carved to finish the details, before firing. This is very slow and meticulous work that can take many days to add more layers and let them dry before applying the next one.
In 1896, he also received a medal in the applied art section, with The Republic of Costa Rica. The artist executed several designs of objects for the South American Republic, including the National Monument of Costa Rica.
A member of the Société des Artistes Francais, he was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1900. During the course of his career, he also ventured into various pictorial ventures: mainly focusing on genre subjects with a marked realism, he portrayed everyday working life in Paris with optical precision in paintings such as Porteurs de farine, 1885. He worked tirelessly until 1912, the year of his last exhibition. He died in Paris in 1913.