25 April 2003
Modelled between 1841 and 1844, four of Barye's five bull studies (the fifth, Petit taureau, not being modelled until 1874) were initial variations for the mythological beast featured in Thésée combattant le Minotaure, the celebrated work rejected by the Salon in 1843 (see lots 150-1). Emphasizing the breadth of Guinle's collection and the determination with which it was assembled, the following five lots illustrate each of the four models and also include a cast of the second version of Taureau debout.
ANTOINE-LOUIS BARYE (FRENCH, 1795-1875)
Taureau attaqué par un tigre (Bull attacked by a tiger)
signed BARYE and stamped 0 38, the underside incised No673, on a wooden plinth, the underside with paper label inscribed in black ink Barye - Bronze/Tigre atacando um touro/21 (b. madeira) 1, with partial remains of a further label
bronze modèle, dark-brown/red patina
8¾ in. (22.2 cm.) high, excluding plinth
Vente Barye, hôtel Drouot, Paris, 7-12 February 1876, lot 673, together with lot 674, the plaster model, 1,010 francs, acquired by P. Goupil, to be edited by F. Barbedienne
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Poletti & Richarme, 2000, no. A180, p. 325
Exposition des oeuvres d'Antoine-Louis Barye, membre de l'Institut, École des beaux-arts, Paris, May 1889
The present lot is a fine example of a more complete modèle. Close examination reveals the points where the monteur-repareur has assembled the various individual sand-cast sections of the model and then gone a stage further by filing down the heads of the protruding assembly pins, filling the joints and concealing the areas with a dark patina. The ultra fine sand used by Barye in the casting process allowed for a resulting bronze impression that was extremely faithful to the original model. Here, this is illustrated not only by the precise inscriptions delineating the skin texture and movement of each animal, but by the loosely-modelled naturalistic base, where one almost has the impression of the artist's thumbs pressing into the wet clay.
Taureau attaqué par un tigre first appears in Besse's 1844 catalogue with the following description: "Acharné sur sa proie, l'animal féroce a déjà enfoncé ses griffes aiguës dans les chairs de son ennemi, qui s'affaisse douleureusement comme dompté par des souffrances qui dépassent toutes ses forces". Poletti and Richarme estimate the total number of casts of the model during Barye's lifetime to be less than thirty. After his death, the model was edited repeatedly by Barbedienne up until as late as 1925.
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