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Chien Epagneul no. 69 in bronze | Pierre Jules Mène (French, 1810-79)



Chien épagneul (Sylphie) no. 69, signed P.J. MENE in cast, circa 1860
Item # 806JGP16P

From the larger group “Chasse å la Perdrix”, which featured a pair of dogs hunting for partridges, this piece is no. 69 from Méne’s catalog (Collection Complete de Bronzes d’Art de P.J. Mene et de Auguste Cain).  Its published dimensions are 22cm high x 31cm length x 15cm depth and was originally offered for 120 francs.  The model is truly alive and full of expression, the Irish Setter handsomely depicted with intelligent eyes and an active profile.  The attention to detail is exceptional, as is always the case with Méne’s lifetime casts; we have seen several casts of this model and this is one of the finest we’ve had a chance to work with.  The difficult rendering of hair throughout the dog is notable, this chaotic furling being beautifully represented in a way that still allows the canine’s anatomy to advertise Mene’s technical prowess.  However, the most impressive part of the sculpture is the naturalistic base - this is above reproach in the way it fully develops a field of vegetation; broken branches, long bending roots, plumes of grasses and scattered leafage are all represented with utmost realism.  The setter’s sharp claws scrape along the base with the thinner hair of his legs chiseled and filed by hand.  It is a very pleasing work.  The signature is crisply chiseled in the base.

Literature & Further Reading:

  • Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, p. 206 f. D21 (present model)
  • The Animaliers, James Mackay, p. 147-151 (text listing of Mene’s catalog)
  • Bronzes of the 19th Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 469-483 (biography, print out of selections of Mene’s catalog including no. 69 in text and dimensions, Chasse å la Perdrix illustrated)
  • E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, vol. IX, p. 760
  • Bronze Sculpture of Les Animaliers, Jane Horswell, p. 151

Measurements:  13 1/4 W x 5 3/8” D x 8 1/2 H

Condition Report:
Original patina; minor wear along ridge of setters back; light patina wear to relief.