Jean Baffier, a Nationalist Sculptor in Fin-de-Siècle France
By (author) Neil McWilliam
Publication date:01 September 2000
Length of book:376 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
Little known today, Jean Baffier (1851–1920) was never far from the headlines during his own lifetime. Born into a poor peasant family, he became a self-taught sculptor whose work ranged from decorative objects to portrayals of peasant life and public monuments. But Baffier would probably not have received wide public attention if he had not also become a folklorist, a promoter of regional culture, and a militant nationalist with beliefs so violent that he attempted a political assassination.
Monumental Intolerance explores the full gamut of Baffier’s activities and shows that he was pursuing a vast scheme of national purification and rebirth. Neil McWilliam’s discussion of the historical issues surrounding Baffier opens an extraordinary perspective on the culture wars and political struggles of a turbulent period in French history.
This book will interest the art-historical community and historians of fin-de-siècle France.
—Thomas Laqueur, London Review of Books