Julien Dillens was a sculptor, medallist and teacher, the brother of Henrik Joseph Dillens.
Between 1861 and 1874 Dillens studied at the Académie of Fine Art in Brussels. Later he worked with Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse on the decoration of the Brussels Bourse (1870-73) where he met Auguste Rodin. As the result of this meeting, Dillens became Rodin's studio assistant until 1877. Dillens exhibited at the Antwerp Salon and later became a leading member of the Belgian exhibiting society L'Essor (1876–91). Along with Emile Hoeterickx (1858–1923), Amédée Ernest Lynen (1852–1938) and others, the group was founded as an alternative venue to the academy (its motto was 'Unique art, Unique life') but it remained liberal in its exhibition selection policy, admitting more conservative artists like Léon Frédéric (1856–1940). Examples of his work are in Ghent and Brussels Hippolyte Metdepenningen (1886; Ghent, Koophandelplein) and the memorial Everard 't Serclaes (1902; Brussels, Grand Place).
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, 1956-61; Van Lennep, Jacques, 'Julian Dillens' and Kaplan, Julius, 'L'Essor,' both in Grove Dictionary of Art Online, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 20 July 2004).