provenance: Gentien collection; Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from Georges Petit Gallery, Paris, December 4th, 1923 (lot 51).
description: Barye, one of the leading representatives of the French Romantic movement, chose to sculpt animals as his means of expression. He combined in-depth knowledge of animal anatomy, gained through study and direct observation during long hours spent at the Jardin des Plantes, the Paris Zoo, where he attended the dissection of dead animals, with his artistic mastery and a passion for his art.
He produced a vast number of animal studies and poses in bronze, especially showing wild animals. This piece is an excellent example of his finest work, which depicted animals fighting one another, a theme that enabled him to show the tense muscles caused by a destructive passion.