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Located in the heart of the Cumberland Valley in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, Silla has actively collected, conserved and cataloged fine objects since its inception in 2009. While the collection has an emphasis on sculpture from 1860 through 1930, a full range of beautiful objects, furniture and paintings are always on display in our 9000 sq ft downtown gallery.

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"The Race" | Jules Bennes

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French, fl. late 19th to early 20th century

"The Race"

Medium-brown nuanced patina on sand-cast bronze | Signed in cast "J. Bennes"

Item # 112PZE03S 

A remarkable fine casting from an otherwise unknown sculptor, this exquisite model captures a racing stallion in full stride with a jockey in saddle, both with an intense focus on the track ahead of them. Only a few known models were produced by Jules Bennes and these are presently the sole remaining record of his life. He apparently had a great deal of respect for Antoine-Louis Barye, producing a pair of bas-reliefs after his Tiger and Lion Marchant; he modeled numerous animals and a few equestrian models, though his most well-recorded model is the present cast of The Race. This was produced with two variations: one with the jockey crouched and leaning into the race while the other model captures the jockey more upright and drawing the horse in a bit.

It is unfortunate that more production from this artist has not been unearthed on the open-market, as the exquisite modeling and extraordinary quality of the casts is suggest an uncommon level of skill both by the artist and the foundry. Note the expressive facial features of the jockey complete with crisp wrinkles in his eyes, sharp nose and jaw and superior execution of the garment; and the horse is above reproach with a wild expressiveness and vivid motion as his tensed muscles and bulging veins are on full display.

Artist Listings & Bibliography:

  • Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, 2002, example of Bennes work on p. 138
  • Western Sculptors in Bronze, James Mackay, 1977, p. 40

Measurements: 20" W x 13 3/4" H x 6 1/2" D

Condition Report:
Repatinated and overall in pristine condition other than minor patina loss to edge of post finial and some very minor base wear. Spherical post finial added, internal steel rod through the post was replaced with stronger rod and modern nut on the bottom to better support the weight of the rider. A very fine presentation.