The American sculptor Herbert Haseltine (1877-1962) was the son of a painter, William Stanley Haseltine. He was born in Rome, and after attending Harvard University studied painting and drawing in Munich, Rome and Paris. A keen horseman and polo player Haseltine is known for his equestrian sculpture, however he originally only modeled compositions as studies for his paintings before his interest in sculpture grew. After initially adopting a realist style Haseltine developed the more impressionistic approach shown here.
Known by their Spanish name Rejoneadores or as 'Portuguese Bullfighter I & II', these figures were modeled during the sculptor's travels to the Iberian peninsula in 1920. The Cavaleiro are attired in traditional 18th century costumes and ride characteristic Lusitano horses. Another pair sold Christie's, New York, 28 November 1995, lot 150.