Dating from 1845, Guerrier tartare arrêtant son cheval epitomizes the Romantic statuette and is one of Barye's most celebrated icons. Referred to in early catalogues as Cavalier chinois, and with a more simplified helmet plume (now lacking, but present in the 1927 Zoubaloff sale catalogue illustration), later editions of the model show numerous variations both in the harness of the horse and in the armour of the Tartar. The model was also offered on an elaborate Byzantine style plinth, although the rarity of examples would indicate that their production was not financially viable (see Poletti & Richarme, 2000, p. 442, for a highly ornate version, incorporating enamelling supervised by the celebrated polychromiste Charles Cordier, shown at the 1855 Paris Exposition universelle, and now in the Musée d'Orsay).
Poletti and Richarme estimate the total number of lifetime casts of Guerrier tartare to be less than fifty. Together with its Byzantine socle, the modèle offered here was purchased at the 1876 Atelier sale by Goupil and was subsequently edited with lasting success by Barbedienne. Sensing the change in taste and exercising financial prudence, Barbedienne never offered the model with the plinth, which now appears to be lost (the two were no longer together when the modèle was subsequently sold in the 1927 Zoubaloff sale). It would be interesting to know whether the underside of the plinth carried the lot number (716) from the Atelier sale, which would explain its absence here.
In addition to the modèle here, and the rare silvered bronze cast of the following lot, Eduardo Guinle's collection included another fine épreuve ancienne of Guerrier tartare arrêtant son cheval, sold in these rooms, 25 May 1995, lot 152 ($23,000), and illustrated in Poletti and Richarme's catalogue raisonné (p. 76, fig. 25). Another épreuve ancienne was sold in these rooms, 24 April 2002, lot 392 ($32,900).