Jane Horswell, Bronze Sculpture of 'Les Animaliers' Reference and Guide, 1971
A bronze figure of a standing terrier with a dark brown patina, by French animalier sculptor Pierre-Jules Mêne (1810-1879). Signed P.J.MENE on an oval base.
This model was first exhibited at the French Salon in 1855 as a wax model.
Mêne was one of the most successful and prolific animalier sculptors of his day. He was born in Paris in 1810 in Rue de Faubourg St. Antione. His father, Doninique, was a skilled metal turner who taught his son not only the basics of metal foundry and the work of a 'ciseler', but also the principles of sculpture. He developed his natural talents as an animal sculptor under sculptor René Compaire making detailed sketches of the animals in the zoo at the Jadin des Plantes which he used as his models. He cast his own sculptures and quickly made a reputation for himself.
In 1838 he exhibited a group of a 'Dog and Fox' at the French Salon in bronze and established his own foundry in the same year, exhibiting one or more models almost every year until his death, with entries accepted on his behalf after his death until 1879. In recognition of his work he received the first class medal at the Salon twice and was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1861. In England where his work was also popular, he exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and 1862 and became known as as the "Landseer of sculpture'.
Mêne issued a combined catalogue of his works with his son-in-law, animalier sculptor Auguste Cain, from Rue L'Entrepot where he lived and worked from 1857 onwards. His friends included fellow sculptors, painters and musicians and his house became a meeting place for those working in the arts.
Mêne's style differed to that of Antoine-Louis Barye, as he concentrated on the more delicate side of animal life giving his subjects a character and natural empathetic appeal of their own, capturing in bronze an animated moment in an animal's life.
Examples of his work can be found in the Louvre and the Ashmoleon in Oxford and he continues to be one of the most collected animalier sculptors today.
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British and European paintings and sculpture from the 16th To 19th century