JULES MOIGNIEZ (FRENCH, 1835-1894) BRONZE SCULPTURE GROUP
"Cock Pheasant frightened by a Stoat"
Signed "J. Moigniez" in naturalistic base
Item # 130212BHW07
This wonderful antique bronze sculpture is an absolute masterpiece by Jules Moigniez, the French sculptor of great repute in the school of Animaliers. Of a highly complex and ambitious form, the group is cast in several intricate pieces to create a deep and robust naturalistic landscape for this bold Pheasant and it's antagonist. Originally exhibited in 1864 (Mackay, p. 78), the antique bronze sculpture is known both as "Pheasant with Weasel" and "Cock Pheasant frightened by a Stoat" - the documented dimensions are 19 1/2" or 49 cm's (Mackay, p. 151). The level of detail in the work is remarkable in it's preciseness and totality - the way Moigniez sculpts emotion into his forms is noteworthy, the startled expression in the Pheasant starkly contrasted against the aggressive yet insecure stance of the weasel, shrinking back while baring it's teeth. Moigniez adheres closely to the unspoken rule of the Animalier School of Sculptors, not attaching human expression or sentiments to the animals, but rather allowing them to exhibit expression in a way that is natural to their environment and essence. This couples a careful and researched precision to the hand of the artist, applying to the figure an appeal almost impossibly captured by any photographic medium.
In every way exceptional, this is a very fine work for serious collectors of French Bronze Sculpture of the 19th Century.
Born at Senlis in 1835, Jules Moigniez first debuted at Salon in 1855 with two plaster groups: a small hawk quarreling with a weasel over a sky-lark and a Setter grabbing a Pheasant. Receiving a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1862, he continued exhibiting at Salon regularly until 1881. Of great fortune to Moigniez, allowing him to maintain great control over the quality of the bronzes cast during his lifetime, was the skill of his father as a gilder and caster of metals - he established a bronze foundry in 1857 to cast the works of his son, the quality of which are generally acknowledged to be superior. After his father's death, Moigniez partnered with A. Gouge for the foundry of his works.
Measurements: 21 1/8" high x 20 1/2" long x approximately 8" deep
Dusty in crevices. Plant in rear has some looseness to it, though it almost certainly was crafted this way to reduce tension on this fragile item. Possible loss to bottom tip of the bird's tail, close up images available in the slideshow. Seam visibility in joinery of the sculpture, not unusual for a large work like this; close ups are available. Traces of verdigris oxidization in crevices. Overall outstanding condition. Please review all images in the slideshow for a full overview of condition.