"Lion Assis no. 4"
Dark-green patinated sand-cast bronze | Signed in cast "BARYE" | cast after 1875
Item # 204XDG15S
Initially modeled by Barye in 1846 as a commission by Louis-Phillipe for the Tuilleries Gardens at a cost of 10,000 francs, the life-size sculpture sat near to Barye's Lion au Serpent until it was later moved in 1867 to the grand entrance to Pavilion de Flore and a pair was crafted for it using a mechanical technique, a gesture which incensed Barye, as he preferred to sculpt a mate to oppose Lion Assis but the government refused on the basis of the high cost. There are similarities between Lion Assis and Barye's Lion of the July Column, both beasts with notable similarity in the multiple layers of their manes and the quiet repose and powerful presence of the motionless Lion Assis is a natural development over his violent clashing group of Lion au Serpent from thirteen years prior.
While it is titled by Barye as the last model of his series, Lion Assis no. 4 was actually the first of the four variations to have been modeled. Initially conceived in 1846, it was not offered in Barye's catalogues until 1870. The model of Lion Assis no. 1 appears in Barye's 1847 catalogue as no. 99 while no. 2 and no. 3 were undated and are first found in production in 1857. During Barye's lifetime, Lion Assis no. 4 was cast in his atelier from 1870 through 1875 though it is estimated that perhaps as few as twenty épreuves were cast during this time. Thereafter acquired at Barye's 1876 estate sale as no. 666 (the bronze together with its plaster model) by Maison Brame for 300 francs and production of the model in his foundry began in 1876. Brame offered it in his catalogue as no. 13 with an asking price of 80 francs and these models appear to have been produced in very small quantities, also estimated at as low as twenty models. Brame sold the bronze and plaster model at his sale in 1884 as no. 13 for 510 francs to Bouchard. Starting in the beginning of the 20th century, the model appears in the catalogue of numerous foundries.
The present model is an early posthumous cast with a richly textured surface and exquisite detail finished in an overall dark-green patina with hints of brighter verdigris undertones; the surface is silky and translucent. For an identical example, see Christie's, New York, Sale 1296, "Barye Bronzes: An Important Bronze Collection", April 17 2003, lot 17 [achieved $ 5736 USD].
Artist Listings & Bibliography:
- Barye: Catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Polleti & Richarme, 2000, p. 185, cat. A59, ill. 146
- The Founders and Editors of the Barye Bronzes, Reinis, 2007, see p. 55 for Brame's catalogue with Lion Assis no. 4 as no. 13
- Untamed: The Art of Antoine-Louis Barye, Walters Art Gallery, 2006, see p. 163 for discussion of Lion Assis no. 1 with interesting context for all four variations
- The Barye Bronzes: A catalogue raisonne, Pivar, 1990, p. 142-145 for the four variations
- Antoine-Louis Barye: Sculptor of Romantic Realism, Benge, 1984
- Bronze Sculpture of Les Animaliers, Horswell, 1974, p. 62 for another variation
- Dictionnaire des sculptures de l'école française, vol. 1, 1914, p. 76
Measurements: 7 1/16" H x 6 3/8" W x 2 15/16" D
Exquisite original condition. Minute patina loss along the extreme edge of the edge in two spots (beneath E of signature, even smaller loss under proper right leg).