Constantin Meunier

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Constantin Meunier, portrayed by Max Liebermann
The sower in the botanical garden of Brussels

Constantin Émile Meunier (born April 12, 1831 in Etterbeek near Brussels , † April 4, 1905 in Ixelles ) was a Belgian sculptor and painter . His work can be assigned to naturalism .

life and work

Constantin Meunier studied at the Academy in Brussels. He was the assistant to the sculptor Charles Auguste Fraikin for three years . In 1868 he founded the Société Libre des Beaux-Arts in Brussels with other Belgian avant-gardists - including Charles de Groux and Félicien Rops . In 1880 he exhibited in the Salon in Ghent and had great success in Paris in 1896 . 1887-1896 he was a professor at the Academie Louvain. Meunier was a Freemason and belonged to the Les Amis Philanthropes Lodge in Brussels.

Constantin Meunier exhibited together with his artist friend Henry van de Velde at the International Art Exhibition in Dresden in 1897 . The organizers had given Meunier two large halls in the exhibition palace for an overall view of his work. His works were received with enthusiasm. On the return trip from Dresden they visited van de Velde's friend Curt Hermann in Berlin.


Meunier began as a painter and initially primarily created pictures with religious themes. From 1880 he turned to the representation of working people. He came to the conviction that he could process this topic better with sculptural means and from 1886 onwards he was mainly active as a sculptor. As such, Meunier became widely known and recognized. The idealized representation of working people was continued in the 20th century in socialist realism.

He is considered to be the most important Belgian sculptor of the 19th century alongside George Minne .

Like Meunier, the sculptor Alfonso Canciani from the Austro-Hungarian Friuli also glorified the world of work.


The Musée Meunier , which was founded in 1939 and manages his works, is located in the house he designed himself (1900) in Brussels . In 1931 a monument to Meuniers by Edmond de Valériola was erected in his hometown of Etterbeek. From 1982 to 1998 the 500 franc banknote in Belgium was dedicated to Meunier.

The dock worker , 1890

The asteroid (10079) Meunier was named after him.



  • Konstantin Meunier . In: The True Jacob . No. 755 of June 25, 1915, pp. 8710-8712 digitized
  • Constantin Meunier 1831-1905. Sculptures, paintings, drawings . Exhibition catalog. Hamburg: Ernst Barlach House, 1998

Web links

Commons : Constantin Meunier  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Famous Belgian freemasons ( Memento of July 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (January 17, 2010)
  2. ^ Henry van de Velde: 1897 International Art Exhibition in Dreden, Henry van de Velde. S 128-136. Retrieved April 19, 2020 .
  3. a b Stefan Dürre: Seemann's Lexicon of Sculpture . EA Seemann Verlag, Leipzig 2007, ISBN 978-3-86502-101-4 , pp. 271 (with picture: work monument) .
  4. ^ The proud Malocher vom Main in: FAZ from January 18, 2012, page 37