Huge Signed Mene Bronze Sculpture Of Goat Eating Vines
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Huge Signed Mene Bronze Sculpture Of Goat Eating Vines:
This is a superb and very large bronze of a strident goat munching on vine leaves. It is signed "MENE" after Pierre Jules Mene who was probably the finest European sculptor of animalia in the 19th Century (I have copied some details of the sculptor below). This is not a new bronze and, judging by the patina, probably dates to around 1900 or possibly earlier. There is no foundry seal to prove that it is an 'original' Mene piece, so I am selling this as 'after Mene'. However, it is certainly antique and consistent with being of Victorian manufacture.The goat is solid bronze and is attached (firmly) to a base which is hollow and also appears to be bronze.There is no damage and the piece stands 17" (43cm) tall by 15.25" (39cm) wide and weighs approximately 9 kg.
Pierre Jules Mene (1810 - 1877) was born in Paris, France on March 25th 1810. He was the most successful and prolific Animalier sculptor of his time, especially in commercial terms, and he is considered an equal to any in ability. His father was a successful metal turner who taught his son how to work with metals and the principles of casting at an early age. Mene married in 1832 at the age of twenty-two and earned his living by doing small jobs relating to his training with metals such as furniture adornments and clock decorations. Like Barye and Fremiet he spent a great deal of his time at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris drawing. There he invested many hours sketching the animals from which he would make his sculptures. Though he did receive minimal instruction in art he never attended any of the prestigious art schools and was for the most part a self taught artist.
By 1837 Mene had established the first of his many foundries where he would cast all of his own bronzes throughout his successful career. His first exhibit was at the Salon of 1838 of a Dog and Fox which he cast in bronze. Mene continued to exhibit at the annual Salons, submitting one or more models every year throughout his lifetime. Mene won several medals at the annual Salon as well as being awarded First Class Medals at the London Exhibitions of 1855 and 1861. His favorite subjects were horses of which he is considered to be the master at portraying. Next to horses Mene modeled many sculptures of dogs, both at work and at play. He created bronze sculpture ranging from animal portraits, to combat groups, to domestic animals, and equestrian groups of both racing and hunting. It is estimated that he modeled over 150 different subjects during his lifetime and the number of bronze casts produced from these models range well into the thousands.
Mene was a very personable and outgoing individual and by his sheer personality alone he drew the finest craftsmen to work for him in his foundry. His home also became a fashionable meeting place for the painters, sculptors, and musicians of Paris. Pierre Jules Mene was truly a man of his art, being just as comfortable entertaining the intellectuals of Paris as he was with his apron on among his foundry workers. His bronzes were widely sold through out Europe and America and he experienced great success in his business. In 1861 Mene was awarded the Cross of the Legion d'Honneur in recognition for his contributions to art. His bronzes, as well as those of his son in law Auguste Cain, were cast with the highest quality, detail, and workmanship, literally setting a new standard that all other foundries tried to meet. Mene cast his works in large editions but took personal care and diligence to make sure that all of the models and casts were kept in perfect condition throughout the edition so that even the last bronze cast in an edition was just as sharp and detailed as the first one that was produced. He did not seek public commissions and he declined many offers to do monuments. Instead he concentrated on his successful business of producing and marketing his very popular bronze sculptures.
On 29-Jun-14 at 21:39:44 BST, seller added the following information:
I have been asked whether this is bronze or 'metal'. The item looks like bronze, weighs like bronze, and a magnet will not stick to it (i.e. it is non-ferrous). I think you can safely assume that it IS bronze!Thanks