Saturday, March 9, 2013


hristophe Fratin, was a noted French sculptor in the animalier style, and one of the earliest French sculptors to portray animals in bronze. His sculpturs are on permanent display in the Louvre; the city museums of Lyon, Metz, and Nîmes; the Wallace Collection in London; the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland; and the Georg Eisler archive in Vienna.


The son of a shoe-maker and sometime taxidermist in Metz on the eastern edge of France and he came onto the Paris scene at the landmark Salon of 1831, the exhibition that launched the Romantic movement with groundbreaking compositions by Delacroix and Delaroche as well as major works by the landscape artists who would form the heart of the century's Realist movement. Together with the slightly older sculptor Antoine Barye (who showed his first animal models at the same Salon), Fratin quickly established the important place of animalier sculpture at the heart of the naturalistic revolution that so effectively undermined the conservative French art establishment. Initially, Fratin's role was as a junior artist to Barye, supplying secondary animal figures for the elaborate surtout du table commissioned by the Duc d'Orléans during the mid-1830s to feature several of Barye's hunting scenes. But with Fratin's 1839 Salon bronze of An Eagle and Vulture Disputing their Prey, he established himself as a formidable rival to Barye and as an indisputable master of the subject matter of animals in combat...more