“Beware of Dog”, patinated bronze | Prosper Lecourtier (French, 1851-1924)
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"PRENEZ GARDE AU CHIEN” BRONZE SCULPTURE BY PROSPER LECOURTIER (FRENCH, 1851-1924)
Base incised "Beaux - Arts 1878", signed in cast "P. Lecourtier"; broken shard of pottery incised “SL"
Item # 810YKJ31P
An intense display of a powerful boxer dog tethered by chain to a post, the present sculpture was made for the English or American markets with the nailed wooden sign over his head translated into English “Beware of the Dog” versus its original French “Prenez Garde Au Chien”. The chain is replaced, the sculpture otherwise remaining in exceptional original condition - this has been displayed slack (as shown) or also wrapped around the tether, which in the context of the subject makes the most sense. This chiseling of the work is simply exceptional with intricate surface detailing and cross-hatching, evidence of just how much time was spent on finishing the sculpture prior to being released by the foundry. Incised along the lower edge of the molded base reads Beaux - Arts 1878, not when this exact sculpture was cast but rather when it was presented at Salon. It is an exquisite lifetime casting with a fine original patina throughout.
Born in Gremilly in 1855, little is known of the life of Prosper Lecourtier. He trained under the direction of Animalier master Emmanuel Fremiet and exhibited at the Salon de la Sociéte des Artistes Français in Paris winning a third class medal in 1880, a second class medal in 1879 and a first class medal in 1902. He also won a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 and continued to exhibit almost every year from 1875 through his death in 1924. The body of his work is extensive with a distinct specialization in Animalier sculpture where he was well regarded for a sophisticated and sensitive approach in the modeling of his subjects. He was a close friend of Hippolyte Moreau and on at least one occasion worked in collaboration with him on "Piqueur au Relais" where he modeled the dogs. His works presently held in museum collection are Great Dane Feeding Her Young (Provins Museum), The Forgotten One - a sensitive study of a braying donkey (Tourcoing Museum) and three works in Guéret.
Literature & Further Readings:
- The Dictionary of Western Sculptors in Bronze, James Mackay, 1977, p. 227
- E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. VIII, Gründ, 2006, p. 698
- Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: A Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 419-21 [including a figure of the present example at 45cm]
- Art Bronzes, Michael Forrest, p. 213-215, p. 478
- The Animaliers, James Mackay, p. 67-69
- Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, p. 230, f. D81 [46 cm model]
Measurements: 17 3/4” H x 13 1/2” W x 10” D
Chain replaced. Scuff to patina along bottom edge of base. Otherwise exceptional original condition.