A magnificent 19th Century French Animalier bronze study of a victorious mounted jockey with wonderful rich brown lightly rubbed to red/mid brown patination and excellent crisp surface detail, raised on a stepped integral base, signed I Bonheur and stamped with Peyrol foundry mark
Bonheur exhibited a wide variety of animal sculptures at the Salons including three studies of jockeys on horseback, exhibited in 1864, 1879 and 1886. The most famous of these is 'Le Grand Jockey'. The work shows a victorious jockey patting his horse on the neck in congratulation. First exhibited at the 1879 Salon in bronze, under the title Un Jockey, it was displayed alongside another equestrian group, Un cavalier, époque de Louis XV (nos. 4817 & 4816 respectively).
Height: 61 cm
Length: 75 cm
Condition: Excellent Original Condition
Book Ref Bronzes of the 19th Century by Pierre Kjellberg
Bonheur Le Grand Jockey – Isidore Bonheur (1827 ~ 1901) was born on May 15th 1827 in Bordeaux, France, and died in Paris in 1901. He was an important Animalier sculptor, the brother of Rosa Bonheur, and brother-in-law to Hippolyte Peyrol the founder. The Bonheurs were a well known family of painters, sculptors and artists. Isidore studied painting under the tutelage of his father at a very early age. He moved on to sculpture in 1848 with his first Salon entry of a plaster study of An African Horseman attacked by a lion. Isidore Bonheur continued exhibiting his sculpture throughout the years, both at the Salon in Paris as well as the Royal Academy in London. He won medals at the Salon in 1865 and 1869, and won the Gold Medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1889. Bonheur was awarded the Legion of Honneur in 1895.
Isidore Bonheur’s bronzes range from domestic cattle and sheep, which he excelled at, to wild bears and lions as well as equestrian and hunting groups, all done in a very natural and realistic manner. His Le Grand Jockey is one of his finest models and is one of the icons of Animalier sculpture. Many of his bronzes were done as compliments to his sisters’ works. These sheep and cattle models by brother and sister were done as pairs. Almost all of his and his sisters’ casts were produced by Hippolyte Peyrol whose extremely small (less than 1/6″) foundry mark if often very difficult to locate.
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