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"Marabout", bronze sculpture | Antoine-Louis Barye & Barbedienne

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"MARABOUT AU SERPENT" AFTER ANTOINE-LOUIS BARYE (FRENCH, 1796-1875)
Patinated bronze over black slate base; incised F. BARBEDIENNE, signed BARYE
Item # 002GPO20P 

Conceived in 1874, this model of Marabout au Serpent was acquired in bronze and plaster posthumously in 1876 as no. 646 by Goupil to be edited by Barbedienne. The identical model with the octagonal black slate base over a thin conforming brass plate is held in the permanent collection both of the Harvard Art Museums (formerly in the collection of the Fogg Art Museum) and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The sculpture depicts a swamp bird of Africa standing balanced on one leg where a snake has wrapped itself, its other leg grasping the creature in closed talons. Expertly chiseled, the surface is finished in a nuanced black patina over an amber-brown. Poletti & Richarme estimate the posthumous edition by Barbedienne was rather limited, which seems to be confirmed by the model's rare appearance on the open market.

Signed BARYE to the rock and F. BARBEDIENNE along the bottom edge of the sculpture.

Literature & Further Reading:

  • Barye: Catalogue Raisonné des Sculptures, Poletti & Richarme, p. 341, f. 343, A 200
  • The Barye Bronzes: A Catalogue Raisonné, Stuart Pivar, 1974, p. 59 [listing for Marabout at 13 x 4 cm cast by F. Barbedienne], p. 242, A181 [identical model including the octagonal slate base]
  • Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de L'École Française, Vol. I, Stanislas Lami, p. 69-85; reproduction of "Catalogue des Bronzes de Barye", Marabout listed for 25 francs with dimensions of 13 cm H x 4 cm H
  • Harvard Art Museums, acc. no. 1956.144
  • Baltimore Museum of Art, acc no. 1974.24.6


Measurements: 6 1/8" H x 2" W x 2" D [total including slate base]

Condition Report:
Horizontal flaw to the original solder joint in the leg. Base shortened slightly (underside sanded down to restore a chip). A very fine presentation.