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Style Other / Ref.14748

Ernest GABARD, Shot Putter, circa 1926

Width: 16'' ⅞  43cm
Height: 31'' ⅛  79cm
Depth: 8'' ⅝  22cm

France, 19th century

Good condition

This patinated bronze statue representing a shot putter was created by Ernest Gabard around 1926.

Ernest Gabard (Pau, 1879-1957) was a sculptor and draftsman from Pau. At the age of 17, he attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied in the ateliers of Gabriel-Jules Thomas and Auguste Rodin, and took anatomy courses from Edouard Cuyer. However, his entire career unfolded in Pau.

It is not surprising that this artist, deeply attached to his region, chose to model the shot putter after his fellow townsman and contemporary, Charles Lagarde (1878-1954). This athlete represented France in the 1908 and 1912 Olympic Games in the discus throw and shot put events. In 1912, he led the French delegation during the athletes’ entry into the Olympic stadium. Although he did not win an Olympic medal, he was a bronze medalist at the French Athletics Championships in 1909, 1910, and 1911. He was also a sports journalist and chaired the sports club "Section Paloise", one of the multi-sport clubs in Pau, from 1932 to 1952.

In this work, the sculptor depicts a figure in full motion: the position of the shot putter corresponds precisely to the moment just before the shot is thrown. With legs bent and weight on the back leg, the athlete extends his left arm in the direction of the throw, while the right arm is still bent. The face of the athlete, very young but with a concentrated expression, is individualized: a prominently shaped nose sits above a mouth with an advancing upper lip. The athlete does not take his eyes off his target. The rest of the body is also admirably detailed. The upper body musculature is more developed than the finer legs.

The athlete wears an outfit suited to his activity: his sports tank top leaves his torso free for movement, and his thin shoes, almost like slippers, do not weigh down his lower body. A very similar outfit can be seen in a photograph of a shot putter from the 1912 Olympic Games.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Pau holds two other versions of this bronze, one of which features some very slight variations.

This sculpture, based on an individualized model, thus evokes the discipline of shot putting in all its difficulty and the complexity of its movement, admirably rendered.