RARE BRONZE SCULPTURE OF “RENARD GUEULE OUVERTE” AFTER MODEL BY PIERRE JULES MENE
Circa mid-19th century, signed in cast "P.J. Mene 1847"
Item # 502CBE14Q
This truly remarkable work by Pierre Jules Méne captures the very essence of foundry excellence of the mid-19th century. The precision and jewelry grade chiseling and finishing evident in the model is of almost unequal quality. The figure is compelling, the wily and aggressive nature of the fox depicted quite totally in it's taught and nervous features, a handsome creature with a curiosity in his eyes and posture despite maintaining a cautious stance - in a moments notice, he can quickly spring in the opposite direction and disappear, his center of gravity leveled over his haunches.
As you work through the close up images, look closely at the skillful casting of his facial features - the teeth remain sharp enough to cut skin, the tongue fully formed of the solid, the roof of his mouth even accurately cast along with light detailing of hair inside of his ears. It is a simply magnificent cast. The base is signed by Méne and dated 1847, though the work continued to be cast several years afterwards. For the most discerning collector, this is a piece you will undoubtedly cherish in your collection for a lifetime.
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 1837, Pierre-Jules Mene cast his works in his own foundry, later also casting works by his son-in-law - 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.
References and Literature:
- Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, p. 247 (present model pictured and discussed; dimensions noted for total length at 10 3/4" or 27 cm)
- Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 484 (present model pictured and discussed; dimensions noted at 11 x 22 cm)
Measurements: 10 1/2" L (total length; base length is 8 3/4" or 22 cm) x 4 1/4" D x 4 3/4" H (total height to tips of ears)
Patina wear along the ridges of back and tips of ears. Light wear along edges of base. Overall exceptional condition.