The second of the elephant studies, Éléphant d'Asie is first offered in Barye's 1857 catalogue, as the pendant to his first model, Éléphant d'Afrique, with which it shares an identical base. Approximately fifty épreuves of the work appear to have been cast up until Barye's death, and the modèle was subsequently acquired and edited in limited numbers by Brame.
JEAN-BAPTISTE FAURE (1830-1914)
Together with lots 17, 53, 125, 142, 143 and 155, the present bronze was formerly in the collection of Jean-Baptiste Faure, the celebrated 19th century baritone singer. Born in Moulins, Faure trained at the Conservatoire and made his singing debut at the Paris Opéra in 1861. Rapidly becoming the best-known baritone of his era, by 1867 Faure was receiving the huge annual stipend of 96,000 francs. Starting with Barbizon artists, he began collecting French art when his career first became successful, and remained a passionate amateur for the rest of his life. In the 1870s, Faure moved on to the 'new school' of Impressionism, and he is chiefly remembered as Édouard Manet's most important patron, at one point owning no less than sixty-eight of the artist's canvases, and sitting for him in 1877 in his then role of Hamlet.
Faure was no doubt familiar with Barye through his interest in the Barbizon School, but it is uncertain either at what point he was collecting the sculptor's bronzes, how many he owned, or, indeed, when they might have been dispersed. Although no major sale appears to have taken place after Faure's death in 1914, it seems likely that Eduardo Guinle would have acquired the seven works offered in this sale at around that time, either directly from the deceased's estate, or through an intermediary.