"Chien Gardant du Gibier" (1850)
Sand-cast patinated bronze | Signed and dated in base "P.J. MÊNE 1850" | a fine atelier cast
Item # 210PVK02E
One of Mêne's most sought-after hunt groups, the present model is cast in his own atelier circa the third quarter of the 19th century. This group of Chien Gardant du Gibier was initially exhibited in wax at the Salon of 1850 and was subsequently offered in his catalogue as no. 58. We know it was cast extensively and was a highly popular model both in France and in England, as many cast-iron lifetime examples can still be found today, those less costly examples presumably produced for the English market.
Typical of work produced under Mêne's personal oversight, the extraordinary attention to detail is self-evident in every element faithfully captured in the most realistic sense. Particularly notable are his rendering of the pheasant's face and the fine finishing of the feathers - not only along the outside of the pheasant's body but also the inside of the tail where it faces the trunk. Note the intricate mottled fur of the rabbit with crisp eyes and beautifully textured fur along the ears and paws. The same is evident in the textured lines of fur along the paws and legs of the dog, but also along his back and head where a silky surface is only broken by the incised lines of the sculptors stylus. These textures are captured directly from the mold without any cold-tooling or labor from the ciseleur. The signature and date are also captured directly from the original wax.
It is a sand-cast model with numerous individual elements and interestingly they are joined to the base with peened posts rather than with nuts on threaded posts. We have seen this detail on several of Mêne's atelier casts, sometimes with a mix of threaded posts and peened-end posts.
An example of this cast in Pierre-Jules Mêne's own atelier is a rare jewel, a very difficult model to find.
Artist Listings & Bibliography:
- "Pierre-Jules Mêne, 1810-1879: catalogue raisonné", Poletti & Richarme, 2007, ill. CHI 34, p. 114-115
- "Animals in Bronze", Christopher Payne, 2002, ill. D36, p. 212
Measurements: 12" H x 8 1/2" D x 14" W
Condition report: Original surface patina sealed under polished wax. Some wear to the edges of the base and some discoloration there as well. Very minor patina rubbing to raised elements, overall an exquisite presentation. Very well preserved.