PIERRE-JULES MENE BRONZE GROUP OF GOAT AND KID
"La Chévre et le Chevreau"; Signed in cast; a very fine work circa 1850-70
Item # 805VCU23K
A rare and exceptional model of La Chévre et le Chevreau (The Nanny Goat and her Kid) by Pierre-Jules Mene, it retains an exquisite original patina with complex variations from greens to blacks, warmer hues of brown and golden brassy highlights. The hand chiseling and chasing completed by the foundry is exquisite, all detailing in both the figures and the naturalistic base above reproach. Mene’s handling of wild and chaotic hair on the mother goat is noteworthy - this is one of the most difficult aspects of a figure for a sculptor to capture, as hair has such layering and depth that few sculptors find a way to model it satisfactorily. Her hair is perfect, blown back and forth across her back, matted and then billowing. In each of his models capturing goats, this is a consistent point of excellence and one of the small details that set Mene apart as the most popular sculptor of the Animalier school - his realism and graceful approach to each subject is simply exceptional. The model is signed crisply in the base amongst the foliage "P.J. Mene”. This model was often executed by the Coalbrookdale foundry in England; however, as this subject is much more intricate and finely chiseled than those of Coalbrookdale, it is likely an early model likely cast and finished in Mene’s foundry.
Born in Paris in 1810, Pierre-Jules Mene was the second most successful and prolific animalier of his day, Barye being the only peer of greater renown. He won four medals at the Salon, receiving the Cross of the Legion d'honneur in 1861. Beginning in 1838, Pierre-Jules Mene cast his work personally in his own foundry and later expanded to handle sculpture for his son-in-law Auguste Caine. As an avenue into the profitable English market, he arranged the Coalbrookdale Foundry and the Falkirk Foundry to cast models of his works. A sculptor of incredible success and personal renown during his lifetime, his influence on the realist movement remains tangible.
- Bronze Sculpture of “Les Animaliers”, Jane Horswell, 1971, p. 119 - same model, 9 3/4” high, executed circa 1850 by the Coalbrookdale foundry in England
- Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, 2002, p. 266 G3 - same model, 9 1/4” high, executed circa 1850s by Coalbrookdale
Measurements: 9 1/4” W x 4 1/2” D x 9 5/8” H
Original patina in excellent condition, only the most minor handling wear (ridge of nanny goat’s back). Dust and grime in crevices.