Style romanticism / Ref.11386
Christophe FRATIN (1801-1864), Taureau à la grenouille (A Bull With a Frog)
Width: 18'' ½ 47cm
Height: 9'' 23cm
Depth: 10'' ¼ 26cm
France, 19th century
Between 1839 and 1849 (?)
Chef-modèle made out of patinated bronze, base in Rouge Griotte marble.
Signed « Fratin », « Fonderie de L. Richard Eyck et Durand » engraved on the base.
Dimensions : L. 47 cm / 18’’ 1/2 ; H. 23 cm / 9’’ 1/16 ; P. 26 cm / 10’’ 1/4
This sculpture was made out of bronze during the 19th century by the famous animal sculptor Christophe Fratin. It represents a young bull moving and more specifically chasing the little frog it has on his back. An other amphibian is set on the base.
The reason why this sculpture has so many sharp details is that it is a chef-modèle (original mould) allowing the reproduction of the sculpture in order to produce commercial copies. Indeed, the details lose their quality during the overmoulding process so the chef-modèle is sculpted so as to prevent this loss. When the piece is not meant to be cast in one go, it has to be dismantle so there are bolts which link the different parts of the piece as is the case here. The quality of the beautiful brown patina should be underlined.
After the 1848 Revolution, the downturn of the art market forces Fratin to sell his works during auctions, most of the time with their publishing rights which is extremeley rare for a 19th century’s sculptor. Our sculpture has been reassembled with the bolts which were added for the purpose of the sale. We don’t know any copy that would have been made from this chef-modèle, making it particularly unique. In the catalogue of one of these auctions (in July 1849), a « Taureau à la grenouille » (Bull With a Frog) is mentioned, so we can date our sculpture from before 1849.
- Kjellberg, Pierre, Les bronzes du XIXe siècle, Dictionnaire des sculptures, Paris, Les éditions de l'amateur, 1987.
- Lami, Stanislas, Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l'École française au dix-neuvième siècle, t.II, Paris, 1916 (Klaus reprint, 1970).
- Bongon, Jacqueline, Le sculpteur animalier Christophe Fratin, Essai sur sa vie et son œuvre, Le Raincy [sans indication d'éditeur], 1983.
- Poletti, Michel ; Richarme, Alain, Inventaire des oeuvres de Fratin, Paris, Editions Univers du bronze, 2000.
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