'The Berber Hunter', large Orientalist bronze group by Waagen

By Waagen, Arthur (German, 1833-1898)


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This superb patinated bronze sculpture is by the celebrated German sculptor Arthur Waagen. The piece, which is also called “Kabyle au retour de la chasse”, French for “Kabyle returning from the hunt” (the Kabyle people being a Berber ethnic group indigenous to northern Algeria), depicts a Berber hunter with his dogs and his horse after a successful hunting excursion.

Arthur Waagen was born in what is now Lithuania, then East Prussia. Waagen moved to and worked in Paris, setting up his studio on the Cours-de-Vincennes. Between 1869 and 1887, Waagen exhibited a series of sculpture groups with Orientalist, and specifically North African, themes at the Salon, the present piece being an especially fine example of his work.

The large bronze depicts a Berber hunter on horseback. The hunter holds aloft and admires his kill, while he cradles a young lamb on his lap. The horse, who stands still, is surrounded by three hounds. The sculpture is wonderfully cast, with each figure—from the carcass to the horse to the hounds—evincing a sense of animation and incipient motion. The patination is warm and variegated, lending a sense of colour to the otherwise monochrome finish.

The sculpture is raised on a parcel gilt ebonised wood plinth and is signed to the base ‘Waagen Scpt. / 1869’ and ‘L. Martin fondeur’, for the foundry.

Sculpture on base: Height 197cm, width 112cm, depth 55cm
Sculpture alone: Height 120cm, width 104cm, depth 47cm
Base alone: Height 77cm, width 112cm, depth 55cm


Artist / Maker
By Waagen, Arthur (German, 1833-1898)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
Equestrian / Horses, Figurative Art, Hunting, Orientalist
Ebonised Wood, Patinated Bronze
Black, Brown, Gold


197 cm / 77.6 inches
112 cm / 44.1 inches
55 cm / 21.7 inches


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