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Paul Landowski

Paul Landowski (1875-1961) was one of the official sculptors of the Third Republic: the winner of the Prix de Rome in 1900, director of the Académie de France in Rome (1933-37) and the creator of such well-known monuments as the statue of Sainte Geneviève on the Pont de la Tournelle bridge in Paris, the Reformer’s Wall in Geneva (with Maurice Reymond), and, most famously, the statue of Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Landowski was also, at least according to one source, a friend and admirer of Carpentier.

What we know for sure is that he made two bronze sculptures, one in 1921 (“The Pugilist”) and one in 1922 (“The Fallen Boxer” or “Knockdown”), representing Carpentier. “The Pugilist” is a standing figure, more or less nude, with feet spread slightly and hands by his side; he is barefoot and his hands are wrapped but not gloved. The superb physique, the bare feet and wrapped hands all recall Greco-Roman sculptures of boxers. “The Fallen Boxer” is a much more modern, less idealized figure, bent over one knee with the other on the ground and clothed in modern boxing trunks, shoes and gloves. The pose does not recall any particular photograph of Carpentier in the Dempsey fight but nonetheless clearly evokes the event. Landowski entered both sculptures in a competition put on in conjunction with the 1924 Paris Olympics. In contrast to the monumental works for which he is best known, these sculptures are intimate, expressing “the simplicity of feelings without grandiloquence.”

There is at least one other sculpture of Carpentier worthy of note: the Musée de la Boxe has a plaster and bronze statue by Mourat, from 1921, representing a highly estheticized Carpentier gisant, lying on the canvas after having been knocked out by Dempsey.