PIERRE-JULES MENE (FRENCH, 1810-79) (after)
"CHASSE AU LAPIN"
Patinated bronze | Signed "P.J. MENE" in cast, inscribed "France" verso
Item # 107JTP21P
This exquisite bronze hunting group captures a trio of dogs excitedly congregating around a small hollow within which a rabbit is presumably hiding. It is one of Mene’s most popular hunting scenes, the dogs more playful and inquisitive than actually partaking on a serious hunt - tongues are wagging and tails are tense as the more brave of the terriers probes his nose under the outcropping. It fully displays the intelligence and curiosity of these animals.
The present casting is a nice posthumous model circa 1890-1910. It is sand-cast and finished with a complex overall dark brown patina with hints of red in the underlayer. We did some surface tests prior to cleaning and have determined that the patina is also at least partially completed using dense waxes and these appear to be original. They lend a bit of depth to the overall surface as well as some contrast. As such, under no circumstances should the bronze be waxed except under the oversight of a professional - a simple cleaning with a wet rag is all that is necessary for regular maintenance.
The work was first presented as a wax model at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, then again at Salon in 1872 as a bronze model. It is catalogued in Mene’s catalog as No. 24 with original dimensions of 20 cm height, 37 cm length and 18 cm depth and an original cost of 250 francs in bronze and 350 francs finished in silver. After his death in 1879, the rights to Mene's models were purchased by Susse Freres, the foundry that put forth a great number of his pieces in the last quarter of the 19th century. A portion of his models were purchased by Barbedienne and slightly later models of this subject are often found cast by Barbedienne.
- Bronze Sculpture of Les Animaliers, Jane Horswell, 1971, p. 144
- Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, 2002, p. 205, f. D18
- Art Bronzes, Michael Forrest, 1988, p. 186, f. 3.67
- Bronzes of the 19th Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, 1994, p. 472 (Mene’s catalog reproduced), p. 484 (present model)
Measurements: 14 3/4" W x 7” D x 7 3/4” H
Fine original patina throughout. The model has been carefully cleaned and a presents in very good condition. Minor surface variations and handling wear.