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French sculptor and draughtsman, one of the greatest and most influential European artists of his period. He was the first sculptor since the heyday of Neoclassicism to occupy a central position in public attention and he opened up new possibilities for his art in a manner comparable to that of his great contemporaries in painting—Cézanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh. His beginnings, however, were not auspicious: he came from a poor background, was rejected three times by the École des Beaux-Arts, and for many years worked mainly as an ornamental mason.

Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)