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"Persian Hunter with a Cheetah" (1878) | Alfred Dubucand

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After a model by Alfred Dubucand (French, 1828-1894)
Patinated bronze with parcel gilt highlights | Unsigned | Conceived 1878, cast late 19th/early 20th century
Item # 106TPP17L 

A very fine and quite rare model of Un Chasseur Persan au Guépard, conceived in 1878 and exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1879; it was for this group that Dubucand was awarded the rare honor of a Gold Medal. It is a very infrequent find on the open market and was cast with several variations. The common arrangement is the horse, rider and cheetah situated over a naturalistic base with a plaque on the front edge; other arrangements show just the rider without the cheetah. And the present example captures the rider and cheetah on horseback but without the naturalistic base. The model shows every indication that it was intentionally cast for presentation over the present rouge marble base, as the horse's rear left proper leg angle was cast at a notably different angle in order to accommodate the square rouge marble block. The surface is beautifully cast with much of the detail passing through directly from the mold into the present cast with little evidence of cold tooling other than the minor cleaning up typical of foundry work. It was finished in a fine overall warm brown chemical patina and augmented with gilt highlights throughout, all preserved under beeswax and presenting beautifully.

Born in Paris on November 25th of 1828, Alfred Dubucand studied under Justin Marie Lequien (French, 1796-1881) and later under Antoine-Louis Barye. While he worked almost exclusively as an animal sculptor or "Animalier", he had a fine eye for capturing the human element in his Equestrian and portrait groups. Some of his most successful works were his studies of French-occupied North Africa and his Eastern nomadic subjects, these often hunt scenes with horse and rider, sometimes accompanied by domestic dogs. His bronzes are always exceptionally well-detailed with special attentions shown to the patina, a skill-set he learned from Barye; his early works are often characterized by more complex and varied chemical patination.

In 1867 his wax model of "Dead Pheasant" was exhibited for his debut at the Paris Salon. He continued to exhibit his works at Salon every year through 1883, these often exhibited as wax models and sometimes plaster. His exhibitions must have been rather well received, as much of his work first presented in wax was in later years again exhibited at Salon cast in bronze. He achieved the ultimate recognition of a gold medal at the Paris Salon of 1879 for his group in bronze of Un Chasseur Persan au Guépard.

Similar examples:

  • Christies, New York, Sale 3711 Interiors, 24 February 2015, lot 361
  • Sladmore Gallery, "Chasse a la Gazelle, c. 1870", situated over naturalistic base with total height of 17", model cast without the cheetah

Artist Listings & Bibliography:

  • Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de L'École Française, Vol. II, Stanislas Lami, Kraus-Thomson, 1970, p. 231-232
  • Art Bronzes, Michael Forrest, 1988, p. 474
  • The Animaliers, James Mackay, 1973, p. 60
  • Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, 1986, p. 402
  • E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. IV, Gründ, 2006, p. 1225-26
  • Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: A Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 299-301

Measurements: 21 3/4" H [19 1/2" H figure only] x 6 3/4" D x 18 3/8" W

Condition Report:
Casting flaw to the back of horse's left proper front leg (not in any way destabilizing). Loss to a portion of the reigns going from the harness to the hunter's hand. Tail tightened from the inside, visually in excellent condition but remains fragile and susceptible to loosening again if pressure is applied to it. Patina in good overall condition with minor age appropriate wear to the patina, more notable on the parcel gilding. Ring on the end of the cheetah's leash replaced. Base in good overall condition with minor wear and chipping. We believe the base to be original as the sculpture was cast specifically to fit the base, note the cast angle of the rear left proper hoof, which was cast at a different angle than used on naturalistic bronze bases.