Carpeaux's life was beset by problems of ill health, an unhappy marriage, and financial pressures. Still, he was able to pursue his career with such success that he became known as the leading sculptor in France during the Second Empire (1852-70). Carpeaux was a favorite of Napoleon 111 and the artistic progenitor of Auguste Rodin. He was born in Valenciennes but moved to Paris, where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as the pupil of two successful sculptors. At the age of twenty-seven Carpeaux won the Prix de Rome, and while in Italy immersed himself in a pro.;ram of self-education. He became a fine draftsman and at his death left an extensive collection of drawings. Carpeaux vigorously pursued commercial prosperity, establishing an atelier in the Parisian suburb of Auteuil. He was able to extract elements of some of his larger groups, which were marketed successfully under his direction. His influence on contemporary and succeeding sculptors was both aesthetic and economic.