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After Mêne, Pierre-Jules (French, 1810-1879)
This superb Orientalist bronze sculpture, finely cast and delicately patinated, portrays an Arab falconer on horseback with a palpable sense of movement and action.
This magnificent patinated bronze sculpture is after Pierre-Jules Mêne. Mêne was considered by his contemporaries to be the pioneer of animal sculpture—the leading animalier—in France during the early to middle 19th Century. The present work is known as ‘The Arab Falconer on Horseback’, or ‘Fauconnier arabe à cheval’, and represents the pinnacle of Mêne’s output.
The bronze portrays a man on horseback, the horse standing on an oval naturalistic base. The horse is brilliantly cast in an active, strained pose, as if captured during a moment of strenuous deceleration. The falconer on the horse’s back pulls the reins, leaning backwards to recapture his eponymous falcon. The bronze is magnificently cast, the slightest of details skillfully rendered, and is warmly patinated. Mêne began to portray Orientalist subject matter during the middle of the century—when Orientalism became a driving force in French art—and the present work is considered by many to be one of his greatest pieces.
The base is signed ‘P.J. Mêne’.
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