Sculptor Statuary (1852-1905)
his work

Biography of the sculptor

A Provencal Artist
Victorien Antoine was born in Provence in 1852, under the Second Empire.
His father was a farmer. The family farm of Charagon was located
on the hill of Bollène, a village in the Rhone river valley.

From the age of 11 he worked to help his parents on the farm. He did not have much time to study. History, art and literature were his life time studies. He kept the family herd and worked on the land. He did not wish to be an agriculturist but had to take on his brother's work. This last one had joined the army to fight against the Prussian in the1870 war.

Augustin : Victorien's brother in the courtyard.
Two reliefs decorates the portal columns

In his family, his passion for Art was unique.That may be the reason why he enrolled for the School of Beaux-Art of Avignon at the age of 19. All his familiar’s hopes were confirmed.
There, he was the pupil of sculptor Augustin Louis Armand (1826-1888) and drawing professor Charles Guilbert d’Anelle (1820-1883). Prompted by his early display of artistic talent his teachers advised him to prepare the examination for the Ecole Nationale et Speciale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

The uprooting in Paris : begining 1873

The sculptor-soldier : conscription to the 17th. infantry regiment of Béziers from october 1875 to august 15th 1879.

He received a small scholarship. Like many students, hard work and frugal life style undermined his health. After his school registration on march 15th 1875 he was able to study for only two years .
He prepared the examination to
the Ecole Nationale et Spéciale
des Beaux-Arts of Paris in sculptor
Augustin Dumont's workshop.
He was a student from the age of 21
to 30 years old with a leave of 4
years and a half. His teachers were
Augustin Louis Dumont and
Gabriel Jules Thomas (1824-1905).
For a living he drew models for
the Manufacture of Sèvres.

- The School of Decorative Arts in Paris instructed him towards modern style without disavowing his Classicism teaching The choice of topics and designs were let to the imaginary He was a pupil of Aimé Millet (1819-1891)

The sculptor-soldier :

conscription to the 17th. regiment of infantry of Béziers from
october 1875 to august 15th 1879.

He joined the17th regiment of_infantry in Béziers. The years he had to spend in the army broke his hopes to undertake the competition for the Prize of Rome. He knew that coming back to civil life, he will be too old. This period however enabled him to regain strength and meet a protector - Joseph Vallarino, a wine merchant of Béziers - who ordered work during all his career. He introduced him to the notable ones of Perpignan, Castres, Pézenas and Béziers, which became faithful customers. Among them, two amateurs of his artworks : the Eastern Pyrenees senator , Jules Pams and the manufacturer of the cigarette papers Job, Justin Bardou. The local press and the municipality praised the sculptor-soldier. Bastet thanked them for their protection by offering artworks such as the bas relief of the "premier péché", or the scene of kind of the "soldat blessé". He bequeathed to this cultivated city, the pretty terra cotta bust of "l’enfant endormi", awarded gold medal at the Marseilles Exhibition Beaux-Arts School in 1879.

The rewarded artist: from 1882

On his return to Paris, at the end of his military service, he perfected his training as a sculptor. He worked in Augustin Dumont’s studio and obtained the first prize. In School he graduaded third of his class. He completed his training in August 1882 and started at the age of 30 years old his artist career. He sculpted a little with the Decorative and Industrial Arts. He probably produced for the Manufacture of Sevres. His customers for busts sculpture were provincial, even if family like the Pourquery de Boisserin lived in the city.

Terra-cotta bust of Madame Pourquey de Boisserin

Auto-portrait of Victorien Antoine Bastet


A photography of Juliette given by an offspring of another contemporary sculptor, from the same native area than Bastet, Félix Charpentier.

He shared his life with a young woman from Normandy called Juliette Delorme . She worked as a model. Juliette was merry and very sociable. She followed during several years singing classes. Beginning 1886, her husband initiated her to sculpture and she exhibited her works at the SAF.

One of the appartment he lived in the VI th district

Victorien was a discreet, introverted artist. He was not fully at ease in the company of others and preferred to spend his time reading and working. He refused the visits of journalists by fears of being misunderstood. However, the press always praised his work.
In 1886, at the famous Salon of the French Artists he was rewarded with the second class medal .
While in military service he had sent a sculpture named "Narcisse", and then years after years he exhibited at the Salon his most beautiful sculpture.
"L’Abandonnée" classified his work without contest. Hewas elected member of the jury, at the side of other great sculptors like Rodin, Carpaux, Dalou…
He remained very attached and dedicated to his native area and on vacation he enjoyed going back to his home town in the Languedoc region. Several home town artists, such his compatriot Felix Charpentier, were his close friends. Naturalism was the subject of his work "la source du Vaucluse", "la vigne mourante".

His career success depended on competition projects, exhibitions (especially at the salon of the French Artists) and commissions by private customers.
In 1886, he attained his first success by obtaining the second class medal at the French Artists Salon. This medal made him eligible to teach and he gave courses to 5 students (of which his wife: Juliette Delorme). From 1897 to 1902, he was elected jury member at the French Artists Salon.
In 1901, he was named life member of the Salon.

The ransom of fame : He was 34 years old

His studio : 36, rue des Artistes in the XIV. district in Paris

Up to the creation of the sculpture called “l’Abandonnée “ his life had been financially difficult. He teached to 5 students and produced a large number of characterful artworks. Famous institutions ordered his works beginning 1886 when Bastet was 34 years old : Eve; the Paul Pamard’s monument and six medallions for the Toulon‘s museum facade.

He had his own workshop built in Paris on Artistes street, 36 and had enough income to buy marble from Carrare. He employed two servants which was then a sign of wealth. The town of Avignon bought some of his work for the Saint Martial square. He was commissioned mainly for busts and he only created once a funeral bust for his most faithful customer : Justin Bardou.

During this period he was busy producing Decorative Arts for private residence interiors. He sculpted ornamental fireplaces decorated with subjects he liked : "Salammbô", "la Comete",

A broken fate:
from 1899 to 1905


A year before the birth of his child André, Victorian at the age of 47 years old suffered from bronchitis. In 1902 after a brain tumour, he was stricken with hemiplegics.
His childhood friends from Bollene, like Doctor Locque, helped him with commissions of his most beautiful sculptures. He was too ill and weak. On the 5th of march 1905 at the age of 52 years old ,Victorian died. He had lived with his family precariously for the last years of his life. As a widow, Juliette worked as a linen maid. A job she held up until her retirement in Algeria where a son lived. André was only six years old when his father died.

Victorien in his studio with the bust of the Catalane, a subject he enjoyed sculpting.