Despiau came to Paris at the age of 17 where Rodin influenced his development and whom he later worked for.

The nature of his gift, however, led him towards synthesis and simplification, not discouraged by Rodin though differing from his own. Despiau applied himself particularly to portraiture. As a portraitist he excels in rendering the general construction of the head rather than individual peculiarities of the model, though it may be said that the subtleties of a sitter's expression, as in the present work, rarely elude the candour of his vision. The classical sobriety and poise, the vigorous modelling of the bust of Mademoiselle Schulte place it among the finest and most characteristic examples of the sculptor's work in this field.

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