"Ravegeot et Ravageole, Chiens Bassets"
Medium-brown patina with copper undertones on sand-cast bronze | Signed in base "E. FREMIET"
Item # 204PFA21Q
A brilliantly textured group of Chiens Bassets, this sand-cast model features an overall nuanced medium-brown surface patina rubbed away in the texture to reveal the coppery undertones. It is a somewhat puzzling cast, as the texture is inordinately good and has been entirely captured from the mold with no evidence of cold-tooling; however, there is a lack of refinement in the base, the rib-cage where the foundry patches the dog after removing the plaster core, imperfect joinery of the tail and leg to the base and a few spots of immature chasing that are unexpected for such unusually good texture. Note the fine detail in the faces of both creatures, the dimpling of the noses, the very uncommon use of an intricate chain rather than the more simple large link chain and the wonderful articulation of the fur. Clearly a lifetime cast, it would be superior were the aforementioned elements more refined - as such we have priced it more in the middle range of where this cast generally sells for us in the shop.
While Fremiet was adamant about being more than an Animalier and executed some of his most substantial public commissions as depictions of full figural and military groups, he remains best known for his sensitive animal subjects. The present example, one of his most popular dog groups, captures a pair of Napoleon's basset hounds: "Ravageot" and "Ravageole". By lowering the head of one dog, he gives depth and a story to the group, Ravageole's face full of curiosity and totally oblivious to her surroundings as she watches the passing of a snail. Ravageot is proud and alert, his left foreleg slightly cocked and the bells around his collar stationary as sets on at a distant point of interest.
Chiens Bassets has it's earliest listing in 1848 and was included in Fremiet's 1853 exhibition at Salon as "Ravegot & Ravageole, Basset Hounds - bronze, In the Salle des Gardes, Palais de Compiegne". The group was sculpted in life-size, exhibited at the Deuxieme Empire Exhibition at the Grand Palais in the spring of 1879. While dimensions for the group vary somewhat, the casts executed by Fremiet are historically documented between 5" and 5 3/4" high and approximately 6"-6 3/4" long. Like Barye, Fremiet edited much of his work personally, both in bronze and plaster.
Measurements: 5 5/8" H x 5 1/2" D x 6 3/4" W
Condition Report: Very well preserved with minimal wear to the original patina. Cleaned and re-sealed in conservator-grade wax.