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Abel Lafleur (1875 – 1953) was a French sculptor who designed and made the FIFA World Cup trophy, first simply called 'Coupe du Monde', later renamed the Jules Rimet Trophy. The trophy was 35 cm in height, weighed 3.8 kg and was made of gold-plated sterling silver, with a blue base of semi-precious stone (lapis lazuli). On the four sides of the base there were four gold plates, onto which would be written the names of the winners of the trophy.
The sculpture, though based on the incomplete Nike of Samothrace ('The Goddess of Victory') which remains on display at the Louvre, was designed to include the shallow, octagonal cup supported by upraised arms and a garland surrounding the model's head. Lafleur knowingly dispensed with the faithful, dynamic design (as used by Rolls-Royce to adorn their vehicles) but decided on a static representation that would assist in how the trophy was held.
Lafleur was born in Rodez, in South-West France in the Midi-Pyrénées region. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was heavily influenced as a pupil by the French medallist Jules-Clément Chaplain (1839–1909), and François-Joseph-Hubert Ponscarmé (1827–1903) and worked alongside Alexandre Charpentier (1856–1909) who had been an assistant to Ponscarmé. Lafleur specialised in the naked female form, as a subject for medallic sculpture, and the Femme Assise Lisant is one of an astounding series of realistic works produced just after the turn of the 20th century.
From 1901 Lafleur exhibited regularly at the Salon des Artistes Français, at the Salon des Indépendants and at the Salon d'Automne. Lafleur was awarded a gold medal and on August 8, 1920 he was nominated to the grade of Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. Lafleur was a contemporary of René Gregoire (1871–1945) and Pierre Charles Lenoir (1871–1953).
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