A rectangular casket in gilt bronze with handles imitating interlaced branches on four curved legs. The lid cercled with braces patterns is surmounted by a pheasant with her babys. Of the two main sides, four oval niches decorated with animals, on one hand three partridges and a duck and the other three partridges and rabbits. The set is richly decorated with ivy, foliated branches and mulberry fruit in high relief. Signed "CAIN" on one of the two medallions on the front side. On the underside, a label stating: "Public exhibition F. BARBEDIENNE, 30 Boulev. Poissonnière, Bronzes and furniture".
This casket is very representative of the Romantic movement, which in addition to its influence on the sculpture aimed on the portrait and the treatment of certain types of subjects, promotes the emergence of a particular genre: the animal sculpture. Animals fascinated the romantics; they represented the wildlife, the world of Nature, perfect mix between violence and sensibility. The animal sculptors were simply following a path already opened by the painters, first by the English, then by the Romantics of the 1820s in particular Gericault and Horace Vernet. The work of Antoine Louis Barye is at the peak of the genre, it brings in its wake many sculptors such as Alfred Barye, his son, Pierre-Jules and his son in law, Auguste Cain, the sculptor of the lions and tigers, which made the representation of these beasts his specialty. From the 1830s, the founder Ferdinand Barbedienne focuses on contemporary sculptors such as Rude, Rodin, Césinger, Constant Sevin or Barye who became his closest collaborators. Indeed, in the nineteenth century he edited the main contemporary artists and enjoyed an international reputation. From 1865 to 1885, he will be regularly re-elected presedent of the Reunion of bronzes maker. Around 1870, he produced approximately 1,200 bronzes of all sizes each year. Alfred de Champeaux, in his dictionary of founders, partially published in 1886, indicates the high quality of bronzes signed by Barbedienne with its complete accuracy of the reductions, the proper composition of the alloy and the fine chasing.
Bibliography: Michel Poletti, Alain Richarme, Barye : catalogue raisonnée des sculptures, éd. Gallimard, Paris, 2000; Charles Saunier, Barye, éd. F Rieder & Cie, Paris, 1925; Collection complète des bronzes d’art de P-J Mène et de A Cain, sujets de chasse – animaux, éd. Susse Frères, Paris, 1907.
Dim: W: 13,4 in - D: 5,1in - H: 7,5in.
Dim: L:34cm, P:13cm, H:19cm.
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