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Pierre-Eugène-Émile Hébert

Forever!! Never!!


Pierre-Eugène-Émile Hébert
Paris 1828 – Paris 1893


Forever!! Never!!


About 1860




83 x 31 x 34.5 cm


Model at the 1859 Salon, Paris


Purchase, the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2008.97


Western Art

Taught by his father and the sculptor Jean-Jacques Feuchère, Pierre-Eugène-Émile Hébert pursued an unremarkable career, creating various series of bronze figures and public commissions. One of his more enigmatic works, however, almost made him famous: Forever!! Never!! caused a sensation at the Paris Salon of 1859. His model, singled out by all the most influential critics, is the subject of a long review by Charles Baudelaire. Is it a memento mori in the tradition of the Middle Ages, cruel Death carrying a beautiful young woman away to the grave? Is it the kiss of two lovers finally reunited in death? The image remains mysterious, fascinating in the tension between terror and pleasure in the conjoined bodies.

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