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Henri Marchand

Henri Marchand

(1887-1960)
French/American
Born: France

Henri Marchand was a French-born American sculptor who was well known for constructing elaborate museum dioramas and precision wax models. After studying under Auguste Rodin, he moved his family to the U.S. in the early 1900s and began working at the New York State Museum, where he was celebrated for his work on 3-dimensional depictions of Native American life.

Marchand relocated to Buffalo in 1925 to work for the Buffalo Museum of Science, where he constructed dioramas with assistance from his teenaged sons. Some of the family's creations are still preserved in the museum’s Marchand Hall of Wildflowers and other exhibits.

The artist attracted international attention in 1930 when his wife, artist Clothilde Marchand, was murdered by Seneca Nation member Nancy Bowen in conjunction with longtime Marchand model Lila Jimerson, one of many Native women with whom he had had affairs on the grounds that he needed to study their naked bodies for his work. Marchand left the museum after his wife's death but his business, the Marchand Diorama Corporation, continued working with other institutions.

Sons Paul and George maintained the family business, constructing dioramas for the Science Museum and other venues around the U.S.

For more on Henri Marchand, see http://www.buffalospree.com/buffalospreemagazine/archives/2008_12/1208fearandloathing.html and http://www.buffalonews.com/article/20100425/LIFE/304259925.