Imbued by tales of colonial exploits, the popular psyche of the last quarter of the 19th century was fascinated by savagery and exoticism. Georges Gardet (1863-1939), a student of Aimé Millet and Emmanuel Frémiet at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, capitalized upon this by creating anatomically exact naturalistic sculpture that established him as one of the leading French animaliers of his time.
Awarded the Grand Prix at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle, Gardet was renowned for working in marble and at the Salon of 1896 this powerful group of Les Panthères received the acclaim of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts: 'Le merveilleux est la souplesse des peaux sous lesquelles on voit s'amasser les muscles, se detendre les nerfs, palpiter les organs. Usant d'un marbre mouncheté. L'artiste a su, par une patientre patine, apparenter le grain au pelage vrai des fauves'.
Like many of his most popular works, Les Panthères, was reproduced in bronze reductions, whilst monumental works include a Tiger and a Bison at the entrance to the Museum of Laval and a stone group entitled Lion à l'engant to ornament the Alexandre III Bridge on the Right Bank.