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"Horse and Bucket", bronze sculpture | Isidore Bonheur (French, 1827-1901)

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Signed in cast “I. Bonheur”, no foundry markings
Item # 812ZXG02WA 

A pleasing model of a horse leaning down to drink water from a bucket, the modeling is excellent as always. The work of Isidore Bonheur was prolific and captured a wonderful spectrum of creatures, and while it would be difficult to call his work original, it captured the natural world with a realism and gentle perspective that is infrequently found in his contemporaries. His horses are among his most cherished subjects, particularly the works with mounted Jockeys. The present example captures a show horse with a cropped tail after what was likely a long day, showing a somewhat tired creature enjoying some rest and a drink. It is modeled over a very nicely detailed naturalistic base. Typical of his work, the base is signed in the mold and cleaned up by the foundry with a crisp I. BONHEUR in large block lettering. The majority of his work was cast by his brother-in-law Hippolyte Peyrol, though the present example does not have the tiny foundry mark generally found on his work. An identical work cast by Peyrol and edited by FP Sanson is noted below from a sale at auction in 2014. The model is a rare find on the open market.

Literature & Further Reading:

  • E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. II, Gründ, 2006, p. 802-803
  • The Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: A Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, 1994, p. 101-106
  • Bronze Sculpture of Les Animaliers, Jane Horswell, 1971, p. 201-216
  • The Animaliers, James Mackay, 1973, p. 46-55
  • Art Bronzes, Michael Forrest, 1988, p. 471
  • The Sporting Art Auction, 19 November 2014, lot 36, “Horse & Pail”, 13 3/4” x 23”, achieved $ 13,000 USD

Measurements: 13 1/2” H x 23 5/8” W x 6 7/8” D

Condition Report:
Some patina wear: scuff to his rear haunch (on signature side), small spots of wear under the neck, spot of wear beside his tail on leg, scuff to upper front leg (non signature side).